Emotion is my middle name…

While biking today I found myself in a situation that I’m sure many people can relate to. I was stopped at a stop sign at an intersection where the cross traffic does not have a stop sign. Basically, in order to turn left, I had to wait until there was a complete break in traffic, or at least a break in traffic on the right while the traffic on my left was turning right. Anyway, there was no traffic at all on my right but a flood of traffic on my left. As the cars approached they all turned right without using a turn signal. Car after car turned without signaling. If just one car used the signal I would know I could cross traffic safely… but it didn’t happen and I felt anger boiling up in my body and I muttered under my breath “I hate people who don’t use their turn signal”.

But that isn’t true, for a couple of reasons.

First off, hate is way too powerful of an emotion to explain my feelings. By mentally using such a strong word to describe my feelings I have watered down what that word means. I’ve removed a word from my vocabulary to accurately express my feelings when/if they actually reach hatred. It is dishonest and intellectually weak. I don’t “hate” people who don’t use a turn signal.

In fact, I don’t even dislike “people” who don’t use turn signals. That one action completely devoid of the intentions of the driver does not provide me with enough information about whether I like them or not as a person. So, without real information about their personality, behavior, and goals, I must default to liking them… maybe even loving them. My default position with people should be to see them in a positive light.

So, a much more accurate statement would be “I don’t like when people don’t use their turn signal”. I didn’t like the situation I was in, both because it caused me inconvenience (a very, very, very small 30-second inconvenience) and because my reaction to the situation was one of anger and frustration. I didn’t like how I reacted, but that is hardly the fault of the driver.

What does a negative response like that get me? I don’t arrive at my destination sooner. Hell, the person who is frustrating me doesn’t even know. They aren’t punished for their behavior, but I punish myself again. My anger only hurts me, it forfeits control to someone else who doesn’t even want it.

I’ve recently come across a lot of talk on emotion. Coincidentally, both the book I’m currently reading (Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama) and the Coursara Course I’m taking (Positive Psychology) discussed the structure of emotional response. Situations generally go like this:

Step A: An event happens (someone doesn’t use their turn signal)

Step B: An emotional starts (Frustration)

Step C: My body and mind respond to this emotion (Body tightens, pulse increases)

Step D: I respond to emotion

Step D is where we have control and can take many forms. Maybe I realize what is happening and try to evaluate Step A (what event started this, is the response appropriate, how can I prevent it in the future), or maybe I react towards whatever caused Step A (I cuss, I scream, I try to fight). I can also try to calm the emotion through meditative techniques or change how my body feels through deep breathing and focus on other things. The goal is to eventually prevent Step A from turning into Step B (at least when it comes to negative emotions), but that is a big ask. Our emotions are a result of millions of years of evolution and simply aren’t fit for a post-hunter/gatherer society (much less a post-industrial one). It takes a lot of hard work to rewire the brain and overcome the deep emotional grooves that have been made. But, I’m going to try.

My first step is to try and remove negative language from my vocabulary (unless it is accurate) and to properly articulate how I feel. Instead of “I hate people who don’t use turn signals” I want to start thinking “I find it inconvenient when I’m delayed because of the actions of others”. Instead of saying “I would kill for a slice of pizza” I should think “I am really craving pizza and would pay a high price for it”. Exaggeration and hyperbole has its place, but not with internal dialogue. Our mind should seek truth and an accurate view of the world, we should attempt to see and respond to things as they truly are. Hopefully, taking the hyperbole out of my internal dialogue will help with that, hopefully, I can cut negative emotions off at the knees and prevent them from even starting… but at the very least I hope I can intercept them before Step C.

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Next Chapter

I’ve been having a lot of trouble focusing on my writing lately. To be honest, the only thing on my mind is the next chapter of my life that is about to begin. I made the announcement on Facebook last week, but I have not written anything about it here yet. Long story short, Anna and I have decided to pause the bike ride for a few years and move to Wilmington, NC. I don’t want to rehash all the reasons here (though, I will copy/paste my Facebook status at the bottom of the post for those interested), but it is something we are both incredibly excited about.

Why Wilmington? Well, it has so much that we look for in a town plus a ton of bonuses. The city is dog-friendly, bike-friendly, cheap, near a beach, has a college, and an active community. It is also near bigger cities that can provide opportunities for new sexual experiences, concerts, and an airport for travel. It is also near the mountains and the city of Asheville, which is an area we’ve always wanted to visit and hope to spend a fair amount of time in. It is also a reasonable drive to other places we love like Charleston, Savannah, Richmond, and DC (well, we don’t love DC, but we love some of our friends who live there). The cheap housing will also allow us to get a multi-bedroom house with a yard on our budget, which means lots of Couchsurfing/Warmshowers hosting, friends can visit, and we can start gardening and home brewing.

So, what will this new chapter mean for my life?

Work will be the same, though I may look for some part time work depending on how expensive life gets. It has been a while since I was in a stable location for several years. I am pretty minimalist but there might be some unexpected needs or wants that pop up. Life on a bike is really cheap (you basically have only a cell phone and health insurance bill), living in a house is very different. The things I’m really excited about is focusing on rounding out my mental, spiritual, and physical fitness.

Health has a lot to do with diet and having a kitchen will put me in greater control of what goes into my tummy. Ideally I will be able to take my veganism closer to “raw” and cut out some of the processed foods that have been a part of my bike riding diet. I did a quick meal plan (below) and I should be able to spend less than $100 a week on food and easily meet my dietary needs. Also, and this is a big one, I’m basically cutting out alcohol for the next few months. The only time I will drink is special occasions, like an upcoming bachelorette party in Canada and my birthday in October. Other than that, I will try not to drink any alcohol and will not keep any in the house. Luckily, Anna supports this and has the same goals. Having a partner that shares your goals and methods is super important to success.

In addition to my food, exercise is going to be important for me to feel healthy. It would be really easy for me to get out of shape when we stop. A major benefit of the bike ride was activity was a necessary part of life, now I will need to make an effort. Anna and I signed up for a half-marathon to help with motivation and I will be joining the local YMCA to use their weight room, pool, and yoga classes. We are also joining a local cycling and running club to get some community support and to make friends. I’m also interested in barre and martial arts, but I’m not sure if I will jump into that right away.

I’ve never run a half-marathon before. In fact, I really haven’t run at all since my time in Army, so I have no idea what I’m doing. But, then again, I had never really biked before my first cross-country ride and that seemed to turn out okay. I am taking precautions with the running and will be consulting with professionals to make sure I have the right shoes and get a training plan that works for me. I know that running uses different muscles than cycling and is harder on the knees. As much as I want robot knees someday I don’t think the technology is advanced enough in 2016, so I should probably take care of my body.

I will be very likely be recording this time in detail and blogging about it. I want to keep track of my weight, measurements, and such during the few months leading up to the half-marathon. During this time I will take lots of nude pictures to have a visual record of this time, and they will probably be shared on this site. Don’t worry, I will provide ample warnings to prevent anyone from accidentally seeing my booty or flaccid penis in these non-sexual (kind of medical) pics.

This break will also give me an opportunity to focus more on my writing. I am dedicated to finishing the book about my solo cross-country bike ride, as well as submitting some of my sci-fi story ideas to be published. Anna and I are also working on a series of children’s books about our adventures around the US and a “Couple’s Guide to Adventuring” that will share what we’ve learned by spending two years together cycling nearly 10,000 miles.

Another thing we are looking forward to is accomplishing things that are impossible on the road. We want to expand our sex life to be more than just “maintenance sex”, we want to start gardening, and I want to become fluent in a foreign language. I’ll also be doing a lot of reading about transpersonal psychology to decide if that is a future career path.

To be honest, the thing I’m looking forward to most is building a community. Some of the clubs we will join will help with that, but I also want to start volunteering. I’m sure I can find local animal shelters, LGBT community centers, women’s shelters, and Planned Parenthood facilities that can use support and volunteers. The kindness of strangers has been such a part of my life and I want to make sure I’m returning the karma.

Anyway, I’m fucking excited and I can’t stop making lists and schedules and researching all the things I want to do. My little heart is all a flutter with the possibilities.

 

*Facebook Announcement*
“After a short conversation, Anna and I have decided to stop the bike ride for a few years after this next week. There were several factors that influenced this decision. None of them alone would be enough for us to alter our plans, but all of them together made us realize that we needed to change.

First, we just weren’t having that much fun anymore. Our frustration and stress runs deeper than the shitty roads of the south. We both started dreading the days when we had to ride. We love cycling, but that doesn’t mean we want to be forced to do it. It is better to stop now than to keep going until we hate it.

Second, we have been presented with an opportunity to live with our friendIvy for a few months and then move to Wilmington for a few years. As wonderful as it is to travel, we haven’t really had solid home since 2014 and we miss it a bit. We want to do home brewing, yoga, gardening, go on our honeymoon, get tattoos, learn to dance, begin fire staff again, take up rock climbing or surfing, foster animals, go to Burning Man, host Couchsurfers, take classes, etc, and that is more plausible with a home.

Third, the current logistics would make much of our journey a terrible rush… and we don’t want that. It is hot as balls and we would be on time crunch to get north.

So, what does that mean for you?
Probably nothing, unless you want to come visit us in Wilmington and hang out on the beach in the next few years. You have a place with us.

Post-Script: There was a surprising surge of anxiety about this while we discussed it. We felt like we were quitters or something… Luckily, we realized that bullshit. It is our life to do what we wish, and that includes changing your mind. You shouldn’t let past decision prevent future pleasure.”

*Starting Meal Plan*
Total Calories: ~2,000
Protein: ~77g
Fat: ~65g
Carbs: ~227g

Breakfast – Oatmeal with fruit, black bean and veggie scramble, avocado toast (~820 calories)
Snack 1 – Almonds (~100 calories)
Lunch – Veggie wraps (~450 calories)
Snack 2 – Grilled tofu salad (~150 calories)
Dinner – Veggie soup or bowl or chili (~300 calories)
Snack 3 – Fruit and nuts (150 calories)

Starting Meal

Things I Wrote This Week: Cycling, Marriage Equality, I Believe, Dream

I’m trying to get in the habit of writing daily to improve my writing and get the creative juices flowing in my brain. In the past when I try to blog daily I end up quitting shortly afterwards. So, this time I’m going to just try to write something relatively quick daily… maybe something that was distracting me while meditating, or maybe a current event, or maybe something else. Regardless, if I keep up the practice I will post them as a blog post every week or so. These aren’t meant to be a completely thought out opinion or well formatted posts, they are just some thoughts going around in my head.

6/24 – Cycling

The most common complaint I see about cyclists is that we “run red lights and stop signs”. It always makes me wonder if people are angry that some cyclists do something they perceive to be dangerous or if they are angry because cyclists seem to get away with breaking the rules. Is it genuine fear for our safety or is it a drive for equality? I actually think it is the latter. It should be noted that rolling through a stop sign and treating a red light like a stop sign instead of a light is actually legal in a few places. Bikes are treated differently because they are different, they are also the only means of transportation without a segregated path in most places to provide safe travel. Pedestrians have sidewalks, automobiles have roads, and cyclists usually have to navigate on one of those two… pissing everyone else off in the process.

Cyclists tend to get grouped together and blamed for an individual’s bad behavior. Yes, some cyclists are assholes and inconsiderate and break laws, but that doesn’t mean all of us do that. I have never heard someone say “ugh, that car just cut me off in traffic, all drivers are terrible and should be banned”, but I hear that about cyclists. Like it or not, bicycles are here to stay. In fact, they are becoming more popular as America slowly shifts away from a car culture. Ideally, cyclists would have their own protected area to operate like other means of transportation, but we aren’t there yet.

6/27 – Marriage Equality

Yesterday was an amazing day. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of marriage equality. I understand that many conservatives are upset, and I kind of understand why, but I think their anger isn’t justified. Certainly, this has altered the definition of marriage in the US on the legal level. But we humans do that all the time. Marriage was redefined when the Supreme Court ruled that people of different races could marry. Marriage was redefined on a cultural level a century ago when it started being about love instead of property. Throughout the thousands of years of human pair bonding marriage has been redefined numerous times across time and cultures. There is no objective definition of marriage that exists outside of time and place, it isn’t some sort of Platonic form. It is a human social construct that we use to arrange our society, and as our society evolves and changes to advancements in science and technology our social constructs will change. I think this will cause a shift in society, and with most societal shifts there will be some institutions that must change or be destroyed. That is the natural cycle of things, that is creative destruction, that is evolution. And that is okay. We don’t get better as a society by staying stagnant as time changes. Jobs, relationships, government, religion… they all will be forced to adjust their place in society as we advance. Those that don’t adjust will become a historical footnote.

Today is a day of celebration. My partner and I wish we could be in Minneapolis this weekend for Twin Cities Pride, but unfortunately we are far away. But, we are happy… almost in tears at times. This is a great decision for equality under the law, human liberty, and strengthening of relationships. The country is a better place now than it was 24 hours ago.

6/29 Random Stuff I Believe

I identify as a libertarian in practice and anarchist in theory. Though, I am pragmatic with many things, including my love of liberty. If it turns out that by sacrificing some of our liberties we would live longer, happier, healthier lives then I would sacrifice those liberties (though I wouldn’t force others to make that decision). It turns out that I think increasing the amount of freedom people have also makes their lives longer and of higher quality. But, as a realist my policy positions don’t always match my theoretical foundation. So, here are random things…

  • Basic Income Guarantee – I think we need to switch over to a social safety net that provides a minimum basic income for everyone in the country. It doesn’t necessarily need to get people to the poverty level, but would instead eliminate the shitty bureaucracy and allow people to transition jobs, get an education, take care of a family, etc without worrying about an ear infection killing their child or choosing between paying the electricity and feeding your kids. Welfare and stuff is alright but it is inefficient. Besides, as we move to an automated world more and more jobs are going to become obsolete. Even jobs that used to require a college education, just look at how Khan Academy, Coursera, MIT Online, and such are providing an education for free or a fraction of the cost of the university. Everything can be outsourced or automated and if we want to prevent a violent revolution due to a lack of food and jobs we need to transfer some of the wealth to the people. Maybe a percentage of money saved by automation goes into an account that is distributed, or maybe all the wealthy people get together and realize it is in their best interest to provide the Basic Income without a state apparatus… but I think something needs to happen or the US will implode into a blood bath of fragmented nation states. Then again, that might be a good thing.
  • Healthcare – Ideally the state would get out of healthcare, but that ideal isn’t going to happen. As much as many conservatives talk about rolling back The Affordable Care Act they know that isn’t actually possible. Hell, they bitched and moaned about the Department of Education but couldn’t do anything about it. I think a single-payer system is better than the crony hodge-podge insurance shit we deal with now. Other countries with a single-payer system seem to be doing much better than us. People may scream “BUT SOCIALISM!!!!” and I say, “who the hell cares?”. Of course, there is the irony that many conservatives worship the military, which itself has a “socialist” healthcare system.
  • Drugs – Legalize them all. All of them. Yes, even heroin. As bad as some chemicals can be for individuals or society it is made infinitely worse by forcing it onto the black market. The government can’t even keep drugs out of prison, they sure as hell can’t keep them out of the US. And the DARE fear-mongering program is a waste of money and brings about zero benefits.
  • Marriage – Let everyone who wants get married. Plural marriages are different than same-sex marriage, but it is still consenting adults making a legal contract with each other. There is no reason the state should prevent that from happening.

7/2 Dream

I had a dream last night… not an altogether rare occasion but this one I remembered pretty clearly. I’ve heard that you can learn a lot from dreams by putting yourself in the shoes of all the different components. I’m not sure how much objective truth can be gleamed but it seems fun and will be a cool mental exercise. So, here’s the dream:

I’m standing on a cliff overlooking a forest. It is nighttime and I see that quite a few of the trees are on fire. The fire doesn’t seem to be spreading, they are just single trees burning. I walk down to the nearest tree on fire and one of my friends is standing there. This friend of mine is someone that I’ve only met in real life once, though we are strongly connected online. We have a lot of the same friends and share views on drug policy. She is also someone who goes to Burning Man regularly. To be honest, she is someone I admire greatly and wish I knew better. For simplicity let’s call her June.

As I approach she turns around. I see that she is wearing a hoodie with fur trim. Her hair is also on fire a little bit. She doesn’t seem to notice her scalp burning, she is instead looking at the tree with an expression of fear and helplessness. I start patting her head to put the fire out and she joins me until the fire is out.

We decide to go for a walk through the forest. As we walk we talk about a problem she is having. June has an elderly grandmother who does not approve of her partner. The grandmother is angry that June never told her that she was dating anyone. June says that the relationship isn’t serious and they don’t plan on marrying so it isn’t a big deal to not update her grandma about it. Grandma doesn’t buy it and wants to meet June’s boyfriend. June doesn’t want this and is clearly upset about it all, it is causing tension in the family and stress in her life. June starts to cry as we walk.

Okay, so I think there are several themes and casts of characters to analyze. Let’s start at the beginning:

Me: I exist and view this whole scenario. I think this is me as an outside observer in the lives of my friends. As I interact with June I am more than an observer, I am also a shoulder to cry on and to help put out fires. Though, I seem unable or unwilling to put out the fire on the tree.

Forest: The forest is filled with trees, and possibly one person at each tree… though I didn’t see anyone except June. Maybe while helping a friend I fail to notice other friends. Anyway, some of the trees are on fire, some of my friend’s lives are on fire. They are having problems that I can notice if I just open my eyes.

Tree: My guess is the tree represents each of my friend’s lives. They are strong and solid, and as a group they make up a beautiful forest. The fire seems to be their lives in disarray, or maybe a problem that if it isn’t resolved will be terminally destructive. The fire is also a warning sign that something must be done.

June on Fire: The fire from the tree has spread to her as a person. It is now a real danger to her life and wellbeing. Something must be done soon, even if June doesn’t notice the fire it is still there and dangerous. Ignorance to the problem won’t make it go away, it will only make the healing take longer in the future.

June: It seems that June could represent several people. First, it could be me. I certainly have problems that I neglect, and my relationship with my family is far from good. My sexuality, religious views, political views, and lifestyle have been a source of tension between my family and I. I don’t really confront these problems, they haven’t negatively affected my life much and I am very happy right now.

Second, it could be the real “June”, the girl who I kind of know but am not that close to. This seems unlikely unless there is an unproven way for people to communicate subconsciously through their dreams. Maybe June is in need of help and calling out through the dreamworld for support. I am open to this possibility but cautious about it. Either way, I sent a message to June letting her know about this dream and offering a listening ear if she needs it.

Third, June represents someone else in my life. Someone else whose life is troubled and needs someone to talk to and help putting out the fire. I’m not sure who this could be, but if any of my friends read this and feel like venting or something please reach out to me. I love you dearly and will do my best to help you. A stranger once saved my life, and I am always here to do the same.

Walking: The last element I can really remember is walking through the forest. My guess is this is a form of healing. Walking and talking, getting the pressure off of you with a dear friend in a peaceful world.

Helena to Bozeman (or, The Hills of Methtana)

Helena proved to be a fun little town. There was definitely a more rural feel to it than Missoula, but it still had some great breweries and bars, and our Couchsurfing host was amazing. She showed us around town a bit (took us to Blackfoot River brewery as well as Lewis and Clark brewery), and she graciously let us take over her backyard and house for a few days. I feel like Helena has a lot more for us to find if we had time to explore and dive in a bit. Maybe someday we will be back for an extended stay.

Higgs. Chillin'.

On Wednesday (5/20) we hit the road again. Our next major stop was Bozeman, Montana…another city we knew nothing about but shows up on a map. The day started out a little late for us, it is always tough to gather up and get moving after a few days off, but by 11 AM or so we were back on the road. It wasn’t long before we were greeted by our old friend, Headwind. Headwind sucks and I want to punch him in his cocky throat. The first hour or so was a little rough with Headwind plus a slight uphill, but eventually the wind settled down and things got a bit easier. The time passed quickly as we wound through the mountains, and we even saw some antelope (antelopes?) in a field!

The last ten miles or so of the day were pretty easy, it was mostly downhill. We are now coasting along the Missouri River which eventually finds its way to St. Louis (thank you informative sign at the campsite for that info). Also, Lewis and Clark hung out around here a couple hundred years ago, which I find kind of cool.

Home is where the tent is.

Our place of rest for the night was a little campground along the Missouri (Indian Road Campground). It was free, which is always a bonus. Also, someone left a full can of Coke on the table near our spot so we mixed that with some rum we happened to have. I don’t remember where the hell we got a small bottle of rum but I’m glad we had it. It was nice getting into the campground a bit early, I was able to plug in the solar system, get some work done, and even do a little reading. This camping thing is pretty cool when you have some daylight to enjoy it.

The night was fairly uneventful and our morning was calm and relaxed. We eventually hit the road around 10:30 AM and made a quick stop at a gas station in Townsend to get some water. The campground we stayed at was wonderful in many ways (including being free) but it didn’t have any potable water available. But, nothing a stop at a gas station couldn’t fix!

The route for the day was similar to yesterday, a gradual uphill for about two-thirds of the ride and then a downhill into our planned camping spot near Three Rivers. Despite an early appearance by Headwind (blast him), things went smoothly until about 10 miles into the ride. Then, we hit some construction. This wasn’t just normal construction with flaggers or a detour of a few hundred yards, this was serious construction. The entire road had been torn up and was basically gravel-covered mud for about five miles. Hardly ideal for a car, much less a bicycle. We didn’t really have a choice, as no alternative routes showed up on any maps, so we just continued through the construction zone cautiously as semis blazed past us at alarming speed. (It seems they really don’t care if there are no road markings or actual pavement to drive on.) About halfway through the construction, one of the workers stopped us and said we could ride in an area that was sectioned off from the main road. Apparently they weren’t doing any work in that area today so it was all ours. It was still gravel, but at least we didn’t have vehicles flying past us spraying us with mud and flying rocks.

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line. Engines pumping and thumping in time. The green light flashes, the flag goes up.

We eventually made it through the construction, got back on solid road, and were finally able to take a much-needed break. We saw a hitchhiker who waved to us, but that was about it. Then, a few minutes later, we spotted a bicycle chained to a piece of farm equipment. Sitting nearby was a bedroll, a backpack, and some other belongings. One of the tires on the bike was flat and we realized the hitchhiker may have actually been a cyclist who needed assistance. If that was the case, we wished he would have asked for our help! Regardless, Anna and I both promised to start explicitly asking any travelers we pass, especially those on foot, if they need help instead of just smiling and waving. One benefit of riding so heavy is that we generally have plenty of water, food, and electricity to share with anyone who might need it.

Peter admiring that world famous "Big Sky"

Eventually we got back on the road after our break, climbed to the top of our hill, and found ourselves staring at dark storm clouds right in our path. It was tough to judge distance but we guessed they were a couple miles away, coming our direction. There wasn’t much we could do so we just pressed on and hoped for the best. Luckily, we somehow missed the storm and made it to our campground without really encountering anything more than a few random raindrops.

Hmm, that doesn't look good.

The campsite (Missouri Headwaters State Park) was a bit of a disappointment. First off, it is expensive as fuck. It is $28 for a tent spot (despite saying $10 online). Normally a campground will offer you some amenities for that price, like running water, electricity, possibly a shower and/or laundry facility on site, maybe a pavilion, or even just beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, this campground did not get the memo. It is miles away from any actual rivers or trails or anything you would come to the state park to see. There is no electricity, showers, laundry, or even trash removal on site. The bathroom is an outhouse. And the only place to refill water is about three miles away from the campsites…which meant we had to bike an extra six miles to fill our water bottles. We essentially paid nearly $30 for worse amenities than we had at the free campground the night before. Kind of disappointing, but not much could be done. (We were pretty beat at the end of the day and biking an unknown number of extra miles to avoid this campsite didn’t sound fun.) We set up our tent, ate some food, charged the solar battery for a bit, and went to bed. Soon, we would be in Bozeman.

Rainbow!

The road to Bozeman was fairly straightforward – we had some rolling hills with small towns and farms along the way. We met some friendly horses who ran up to their fence and eagerly snatched up a few baby carrots out of Anna’s hands. This might have been some sort of farming taboo, feeding horses that aren’t yours, but everything seemed to turn out okay.

Anna feeding some carrots to our biggest fans.

And, of course, we were surrounded by meth. Anti-meth signs were everywhere. The hand-drawn “not even once” posters dotted the landscape and every city advertised (bragged? warned?) that they were a “Meth Watch” community. I really never knew Montana had a meth problem and part of me seriously wonders why. Is it just impossible to get good drugs? I guess Montana is pretty far from the traditional drug pipelines of Seattle, Chicago, New York, Miami, San Diego, etc… but man, this is the age of the Internet. I know for a fact you can order incredibly clean MDMA online and have it delivered by the postal service, and all you need is an Internet connection, Google, a few hours of spare time, and a ninth grade level reading comprehension. Oh well, I guess out here meth is king, which is really kind of sad because MDMA is such a better experience. I’ve never actually done meth unless it was mixed with Molly to make it a bit speedier. Much like heroin it really doesn’t appeal to me, but I do know people who use meth recreationally and are functional parts of society.

I’m torn on these scare tactics. I could see them being effective in a limited way if only applied to certain drugs. If we had a comprehensive education program about drugs and ended the tyrannical war on drugs, then it could be effective to have a couple drugs (like meth) that are advertised as too dangerous to try even once. But clearly that requires us to stop putting weed, MDMA, cocaine, ketamine, 2C-B, LSD, shrooms, and everything else into the same category. If you tell students that all drugs are really bad (mmm-kay) and they end up smoking some weed and see that it isn’t that bad, then you undermine the entire program. If the government is willing to lie about weed, why should I trust them about meth?

Of course, the best thing to do is to legalize everything and put more money into health services like Portugal did. Further research into addiction is showing that the environment is a major factor, and people (or rats) don’t sink their whole lives into a drug if they have a community to be a part of. The research and work done by Dr. Carl Hart is really changing how we look at drugs and policy, but sadly not many politicians are listening because power is gained by blaming drugs.

Anyway…that was an unexpected tangent.

About halfway into Bozeman, we started getting some ominous clouds forming over us. I thought we were going to be luck out again, Anna wasn’t so sure. Anna was right. I should listen to her more. After lunch we ended up getting soaked for about 20 minutes. To be honest, sometimes that sucks more than it raining all day. Getting pissed on for just 20 minutes feels like a prank. Like Zeus and Poseidon are on Mount Olympus laughing at our happiness and thinking it would be funny if we had dripping wet socks, but not wanting the farmers in the area to actually get their crops watered. Fuck you Zeus and Poseidon.

Welcome to Bozeman?

Despite the downpour (and another one soon after that, which we escaped by hiding under a Safeway awning), we made it to our wonderful Couchsurfing host’s home in Bozeman around 6 PM. We chatted for a couple hours, despite all of us being pretty tired (she had early work in the morning). Our host is going to start a European bike tour later this year and it was fun to exchange experiences, talk about equipment, and hear each other’s plans. Sadly, we are only staying here one night and the rest of our time in Bozeman will be with someone we met off Warm Showers. She seems pretty awesome too so I am sure things will continue to be great. In some ways this bike ride is more about the people than anything. We meet such awesome fucking people. Hell, we even had a stranger offer to let us crash in his living room when we were buying supplies at REI. The world really is filled with beautiful, amazing souls who genuinely want to help others reach their potential and experience all this world has to offer. It is an inspiring thing.

**If you are interested in more photos of our journey we have a Facebook page you can follow (www.facebook.com/shiftsandhiggles).**

Helena to Bozeman - Map

Helena to Bozeman - Elevation

Out of the Salinas Valley

Pre-Post: Well, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 23. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Recap… we just woke up behind an abandoned(?) church after a terrible night of paranoid “rest”. We only had a short day of travel ahead of us into King City. Now, on with our tale.

After waking and quickly breaking down camp we hit the trail early. The morning fog reflected our moods and the damp darkness seemed to creep into our souls. We were all a bit on edge and uncomfortable, the night before had brought little more than stress that added to the physical exhaustion we felt from fighting the wind all day. The only bright spot was knowing we had a short ride, 10 miles, into the next city where we had a county campground available for only $5.

The ride itself was quiet and uneventful. The weather prevented us from really noticing or caring about the landscape and none of us really seemed to be in the mood to talk. After about an hour or so we arrived at the King City Starbucks and set up for the day. Anna had a ton of work to catch up on (part of the reason for the long stop) and we needed to secure a rental car so we could get back to LA for Anna and Higgs’ appointments. Besides the work and organizing the rest was much needed for our bodies and minds.

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We ended up spending about 10 hours or so at Starbucks. The staff was absolutely great and we actually brought Higgs into the store. He was well-behaved and quiet… he just slept underneath the table. He is really pretty happy as long as he is with all three of us, though the parade of Easter Sunday coffee drinkers annoyed him from time to time. The hours were well spent, even if when we found out that King City no longer has a car rental place (Google fail) and we had to postpone the trip to LA until next week.

After all that work we were really looking forward to camping out and after about 500 feet of cycling we arrived at the campground. Unfortunately, the fee was $28 not $5… apparently I was lied to on the phone or there was some misunderstanding. Pretty obnoxious but still the best option we had available, we paid the fee and got to camp to set up. We were the only tents in the area, there were a lot of people in RVs “camping” nearby but they stayed inside their vehicles and watched tv most of the time. People like that are so lucky to get out of the house whenever they want to explore nature.

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Our site itself was perfect. We had trees to set up a hammock where I got some reading in (“The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss… if you like fantasy you should probably stop reading my blog and start reading this book. It kicks ass), a store nearby to get beer, and flat soft grass for everything else. There were also showers and a laundry place nearby to stop our stink. After a nice dinner we laid down for the night and got some banging in. It is becoming increasingly obvious that we are getting more fit because of the ride. Whenever I have sex with Anna or grind up on Hans the ass and legs feel much more toned, and I have even noticed some of my middle pudge slipping away. Apparently exercising daily for 4-8 hours and eating mostly fresh foods is good for the body. With our sexiness increasing and our bodies getting used to daily exercise Anna and I should be up to our 5-6 times a week bang schedule that we prefer.

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With refreshed minds and bodies we set off along northwest again along the Salinas valley. Generally our routes have been pretty good but it is clear that Google bike directions are great in some places. Whether it is telling us to take roads that don’t at all exist or defining private paths through vineyards as “roads” you need to be cautious and comfortable with making changes to your plans. This didn’t through us off too much though, we got to explore some more farmland and enjoy a nice morning ride. We arrived in Soledad in the early afternoon and everything went to shit.

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When we stopped in Soledad the weather was pretty good and we saw an opportunity to catch up on some work at a local coffee shop, get some more groceries, and take it easy before we plowed on another 10 miles or so. We didn’t have a place set up to stay so we were on the lookout for anything on the side of the road to offer shelter. But then the wind came and kicked our ass.

The wind really came out of nowhere… it went from a calm breeze to a ridiculous hurricane of evil dust in a matter of minutes. To be honest, it reminded me of Burning Man. There was a whiteout in the distance and I knew that our evening ride plans were dead if it kept up like that, and it definitely kept up. When it didn’t settle after a bit we decided to see what options we had in Soledad, which ended up being some woods by the Salinas River, a handful of churches, and a motel. We tried them, in that order.

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After walking a mile or two in the crazy winds (riding was not possible) to the river we found out that there was a barbed wire fence around it and nobody was allowed there. This has been a common problem for us. Much “public” area is fenced off or restricted from use for no real reason. This is particularly true of city and county parks that don’t allow people there after sundown. How can you really claim a park belongs to the people if bureaucrats are able to criminalize simply existing there during a certain time.

Trespassing harms nobody, trespassing is about control and reducing freedom in exchange for a government officials convenience. I am sure they will claim it is either for our own safety (thanks daddy government for protecting me from myself, I don’t know how I ever can get my daily necessities like food, water, shelter, and jerking off without you… I would probably accidentally stab myself in the face while cutting carrots if it wasn’t for you) or they will claim that criminal activity happens during those hours. But that is bullshit too. To assume any person who exists in a location during a certain hour is going to harm somebody or something is to see us all as guilty until proven innocent. It is the opposite of justice. It is tyranny. There is no good reason that public parks (and other land) should not be available for all peaceful people to use as they wish as long as they do not harm another person or property. But, laws aren’t about peace or freedom, they are about coercion and control. Just remember, when the government fines or jails somebody for trespassing what they are doing is taking a piece of their life. It isn’t a free exchange. It is men with guns throwing others in cages and calling it “freedom”.

After the river was a bust we walked back to a parking lot in the city. I took all the stuff off my bike and decided to check out the churches by myself, it would just be faster for me to go alone on bike than all of us caravan all over the city. This didn’t end up working though, one church was too far, one had nobody around and no place to lay a tent, and one was in the middle of a funeral. The local fire department was also no help because there was some emergency a few blocks away that was taking up there time. It looked like the hotel would be our best bet so we crashed there for the night… it sucks, we are trying not to waste our time at damn hotels. We are learning though and getting better at finding places to sleep well ahead of time so we don’t get stuck in cities.

The sleep at the hotel was a little rough… despite some good sex. Can anyone resist banging in a hotel room? We seem to get later starts in hotels because actual beds are tough to get out of, it is just some much quicker to rise and shine when camping. We planned on hitting a beach campground about 55 miles away but in the end that just couldn’t happen. Our Google route again was filled with weird turns and it got to the point where we just cut through farms along their roads. I don’t know if this is legal or trespassing (or, as I like to call it, “finding the most efficient route from point a to point b as long as you aren’t told ‘no’ ahead of time”). We actually ended up riding along the fence of a state prison for a bit and the sounds of gunfire filled the morning air. I am assuming by the lack of sirens and screaming and general chaos the gunfire was the guards at a shooting range.

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Riding by the jail was an interesting thing for me. I found myself a bit afraid and protective of the girls. There was one point when some prisoners rode by us in a truck and I felt the adrenaline start to rush. I know that most prisoners in America are unjustly imprisoned. I know that we have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. In many very real ways we are a police and prison state. Anybody can be chucked in jail for next to nothing and everyone just assumes it is just. I know it isn’t just. I know most people aren’t violent. But I was nervous just the same. Conditioning is a bitch.

By time we reached Salinas it was pretty clear that we were not going to reach the campground. I sent out a quick email to the only church along the way that I could find an email address for. (Sidenote: Why don’t churches have updated websites, or at least email addresses published that people actually check?) This turned out to be wonderful for us. Pastor Bill of Grace Community Church in Prunedale contacted us quickly and offered to let us stay at his church.

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So, after climbing some hills, one of which Hans started calling “Pencil Dick” because it was long, skinny, veered awkwardly to the left, and she wanted nothing to do with it, we reached our home for the night. The youth pastor, Mark, met us there and let us in. Both Mark and Bill were incredible. They didn’t ask about our religion, they didn’t set up any stipulations for us staying there. Nope, they simply offered shelter for weary travelers. They were real examples of peace and love. Christians and non-Christians could learn a thing from them, and while I probably don’t agree with them on many issues they are the type of people I would want to surround myself with.

After setting up camp and some brief conversations with our hosts we got to bed. Only 27 miles ahead into the Santa Cruz area where we are staying with one of my friends… well, I don’t know what to call her, we were friends in college but also used to sleep together a bunch. Whatever, she is a friend and we are staying with her and her partner.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

Send Off

**Well, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 16. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now**

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Well nothing ever goes as planned. Expectations, plans, and the whole works are often necessary but rarely match up with what we have in mind. Oh well, shit works out.

We didn’t get to bed the night before until pretty late. I went to bed around midnight, Hans went to bed around 11pm, and Anna didn’t snuggle into our mattress on the ground until nearly 2am… and our alarm was set for 6am. It sucks but I didn’t think much of it because I knew we could still knock out the rest of the prep work and apartment cleaning by 9am or so and hit the trail. Our first day was only 35 miles or so after all, no big deal. And then everything went crazy.

I woke up to anxious voices in the living room. Apparently Higgs had decided to eat a bunch of our trail mix in the middle of the night and because the trail mix had dark chocolate it could probably poison him to death. Anna called her dad who is a veterinarian and I did the only thing I could do, I checked the internet. After some research I decided our dog probably wouldn’t die but this is the internet so it is probably good that we erred on the side of caution. Anna’s dad told us to induce vomiting by pouring hydrogen peroxide down his throat so we did. Dogs do not love the taste of hydrogen peroxide, but after a couple douses he vomited a shit ton of foamy, brown, nutty mess all over the alley behind our house. A good person probably would have cleaned it up but I didn’t because I was tired, in my pajamas, and the smell was terrible. Oh well, this is LA… dog vomit is probably pretty clean compared to most of the sidewalk.

After the Higgs-chocolate-vomit debacle we got back to work cleaning the apartment and prepping our equipment. We finally got everything downstairs and ready to load up around 11am. That is when we realized that the equipment didn’t really fit on our bikes very well and we needed a trailer to carry some of it. Anna rushed off to the local bike shop to get one while Hans and I hung around and kind of just sat around. 1pm finally rolled around and we hit the road. Now we had less than half the time than expected… no big deal…

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the campground we had a reservation at. We were racing the sun and had about seven more miles to go when Anna’s bike blew a tube. By time we got it changed we had very little light left and were on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway. I found a campground about a mile away and we rushed off hoping they would have room for us to camp.

We arrived with a few minutes of light left but there was nobody working so we just set up our tent in an empty spot and called it good. We would have payed the $45 if they came around and asked for it but they never did. We left before any park attendee talked to us so I guess we camped for free. Well, free minus the $40 we paid for the other campground that we didn’t stay at. I’m sure the state of California will survive without that extra $5, they sure as hell took a bunch out of our taxes this year already anyway.

The next day (Thursday) only really had one event. As we were driving down the PCH Higgs somehow managed to bust out of the kennel and fell out while I was riding about 15mph. He somehow rolled pretty safely and decided to sprint around the highway. Luckily there wasn’t much traffic. We all basically panicked and started screaming his name, which of course freaked him out and he started sprinting to each of us thinking we were playing some sort of game called “Let’s dodge traffic in an area with no shoulder and speeding cars, but at least the weather is nice”. We ended up getting grabbing him and he was perfectly fine, we were more shaken than he was. He just kept wagging his tail and was thinking of peanut butter or something. After that there wasn’t much to report, we saw some cool jets and missiles near an Air Force base and we stopped for some fresh fruit but really we rolled into Ventura safe and sound.

On Friday things got a little rougher. First off, after about 4 miles on the road some bad circumstances led to Higgs tipping in his trailer as we crossed a road. Again, Higgs ended up being fine but the trailer ended up torn on one side. We had to prop up the couch cushion that Higgs has been using as a bed to block the broken side so he couldn’t slip out… I know it seems like we take risks with our dog but that really isn’t the case, it has just been a good run of bad luck.

After we got the trailer going again we knocked out an amazing 30 miles or so along the coast. We stopped for coffee in a pretentious little area of Santa Barbara where some guy who said he was a witch from Salem, Massachusetts and was walking to San Diego asked Hans for money. He got pretty annoyed when she said no but then asked for directions to San Diego and got more annoyed when we didn’t know more than “walk with the beach on your right”. Once we hit the highway heading to Lucidity from Santa Barbara things got kind of dicey. The roads were absolute crap… uphill climbs, shitty shoulders, and driver’s who barely paid attention. We walked our bikes a lot because we just couldn’t keep riding the steep incline. Luckily, a great guy with a pick-up truck saw us along the road and offered us a lift. We gladly accepted. Finally, around 5pm on Friday we got into Lucidity and got ready to party our asses off.

It didn’t take us long to find our friends and get settled in at the festival. After a little bit of relaxation we popped some MDMA and Cialis and got things going. We wandered around, listened to some music, and just enjoyed the amazing vibe of hundreds of people acting peacefully. For the first time since our trip started Anna and I had sex but because of the MDMA neither of us could come. A standard and expected side effect, particularly when our bodies were so tired from three days cycling in the sun. During this time Hans was out with some of our friends. She got invited to a threesome but wasn’t really up for it because of all the travel, besides, she wanted to listen to some music and explore the festival. We all got a really good night’s sleep though and were ready to explore the festival all day Saturday.

After waking at about noon the three of us and some friends hung out for a bit and drank some beers in front of the tent. We were all recovering from the chemicals in our body and enjoying the cool atmosphere. A few more of our friends arrived at the festival which motivated us to get moving. A group of us walked around for a while just taking in the sights and sounds. It is always such a great experience to see the art and hear the music that humans can create, we are such fascinating and creative creatures. During our walk we decided to take a bunch of pictures (obviously) and during one of these photo ops I proposed to Anna. She said yes and we are now engaged. Her and I have talked a lot about our future together and we both want our lives to stay aligned if possible. We are great partners.

Eventually we found our way back to our tents and rested some more…. festivals can kind of make you lazy sometimes. It is an opportunity to rest and restore your mind (even if you exhaust your body a bit). As the sun started to sink down we took some more MDMA and Cialis and hit the festival again. We wandered, looked for friends, listened to music and enjoyed life.

As is often the case, five of us found ourselves in a tent exploring each other. There were various stages of undress and tits being sucked, cocks being stroked, bodies caressed, kissing, laughing, petting, playing, and banging. Bodies got lost on and in each other and a good time was had by all. During all this play another friend came up to our tent but he was on a bunch of mushrooms so he was more in the mood to just stare at the stars than have some sexy time with our group. While it was fun none of us came (thanks MDMA) so this was day 4 without orgasm… a pretty long time for people like us. After our little tent party we wandered around for another hour or so but our bodies started to tire, the MDMA we took was really clean so we were euphoric and happy but not really “dancey”.

Sunday ended up being a real day of rest for us. Most of our friends had to leave that day and we knew we had to hit the road again hard on Monday. We spent a lot of time letting our bodies and mind recover. Naps, 5-HTP, and food were our primary desires. It was incredibly sad to say good-bye to our friends. Some of them we will see again at Burning Man but many of them will likely be physically out of our lives for the next couple years. Thankfully we live in a time when Facebook and cell phones allow us to stay connected. I fucking love these people and I don’t know how I would get around without them, we all need friends where we can be our naked selves… where we can be open, honest, and unapologetic. People who don’t mind hanging out in the nude, drinking a beer, discussing philosophy, doing drugs, cuddling on a couch, or a thousand other things. These people are soulmates, reflections of ourselves in others. That’s what these two groups of friends are to me… they are love, plain and simple. They are my crushes (intellectually, physically, and as couples) and they are people I hope will be in my life for a very long time. Damn it… I am going to fucking miss them.

Leaving on Monday morning was tough. It was like leaving a warm bed on a cold morning except the bed was warmth for your spirit. We managed to do it though and hit the road around 11am. The mountains out of the city sucked ass. Small shoulders, inclines, and shitty drivers again but we pushed through the remaining 8ish miles with only a few stops (mostly for safety… I have no intention of dying on this adventure, there is too much more to explore). Unfortunately as we came out of the mountains we had a tube on the equipment trailer blow. Somehow it managed to get over five tiny holes in it. We patched what we could and moved on… we should have had spare tubes but we all procrastinated buying them. For days we talked about needing to pick them up but just didn’t. Oh well, lesson learned. We patched what we could and just kept filling the tube every mile or so until we made it to our destination.

That night we stayed with someone we found on WarmShowers. Our host and his wife was absolutely amazing. Despite Higgs acting like a dick to his dogs and horses our host really took care of us. He provided a place for us to set up our tent for the night and cooked us an amazing vegan chili dinner. A warm home cooked meal really hit the spot. I should of known that were among good people when his Pandora station was Phish. We had some great dessert, took a shower in one of the nicest showers I have ever used, and hit the sack pretty early so we could get a good start on the next day.

Around 7am we hit the road to a local coffee shop to kind of set up basecamp for the day. I rode quickly to a bike shop to get tubes for the trailer, as well as new patch kits, while Anna and Hans worked on work and our new Facebook page. We ended up spending about four hours at the coffee shop before hitting the road again.

About halfway through our day we stopped for a break at a gas station. While sitting at a bench I started talking to a guy sitting near us. It turns out he is a former California Highway Patrolman. He asked about what we were doing and seemed really supportive. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his name but I gave him one of our cards. He asked about this blog title so it is likely he is reading this. It is sad that if he was working and witnessed some of the things I’ve already talked about it is likely he would put me in a cage. Our current legal system (and the fucktard asshat politicians that pass the laws) pits many good people who want to make a better society against peaceful people like us. I don’t know what kind of cop he was, he may have been wonderful or he may have ruined the lives of people because they smoked a plant or did some other peaceful act that harmed nobody. I just don’t know, I hope he was a good cop, I really do. It is just really sad that we now live in a society where I fear flashing blue lights and badges even when I do nothing wrong. I know I would never call the police, even if I witnessed a crime… the chance is just too high that they will turn against me or other peaceful people. We now live in a society where vigilante justice is more just than law enforcement. It really is sad….

The rest of our ride into Santa Maria was pretty peaceful. We couldn’t find a safe place to camp or any available people on CouchSurfing or WarmShowers so we got a cheap hotel room. Finally, after an amazing 90 seconds of banging, Anna and I were able to orgasm… the first one in seven days. Hans was feeling a little sick so she didn’t bust out her vibrator, but she did have nearly a half dozen sex dreams so her subconscious filled in where her body couldn’t…. and she banged herself in the morning to make up for lost time.
**I know this one is pretty long. Hopefully I will be able to update this more often and not write a novel once a week**

Worldwide Naked Bike Ride

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of participating the Worldwide Naked Bike Ride in beautiful Los Angeles, California. The weather was perfect for a ride through the city and my friends and I had a great time joining 250ish others in the peaceful event. Like most things it meant different things to different people, some were advocating for green energy,  body positivity, both, and neither. The participants themselves were generally courteous, polite, and friendly. There was also great variety in what people “wore”, our group was mostly body paint but some people had costumes, masks, and “au naturel”.

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As a self-proclaimed sex-positive, body-positive advocate I felt incredibly comfortable laughing, talking, and biking with people in their birthday suits. It is just skin and it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I strongly believe that the world (and America in particular) could benefit from more non-sexualized nudity. Making the the body taboo is harmful to every individual and society as a whole. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees and many of those who disagree did not believe in passive, peaceful, respectful dialogue to voice their disagreements.

There were two times during the ride when I actually felt a bit unsafe. While I am comfortable being naked in public and private it is not the optimal condition if I need to defend myself or others. The first time was when the route took us down skid row. I’m not sure who planned the route but I feel like this was a mistake. Skid Row is a generally impoverished area of Los Angeles where many homeless people settle. While most of the people we encountered either ignored us or laughed when we were in the Skid Row area we were met with profanities and sexual comments being shouted at the women. It quickly became uncomfortable when people started leaving the sidewalk and approaching us on the street. Luckily things did not escalate and we were on our way quickly.

The second time was a little more concerning. We were all riding along a beautiful bike trail along the Los Angeles river when we passed a group of men who did not appreciate the beauty of the human form. Instead of ignoring us and waiting for us to pass they ended up trying to fight one of the organizers and threw at least one punch. Regardless of your views on public nudity, sexuality, or anything else you should not resort to violence. I do wonder what these individuals who were shouting homophobic slurs at us would have done if our crowd of 250+ naked people would have decided to defend ourselves with force. I can’t imagine it would have ended well for them. A few minutes later along the bike path we passed a park where a women had two small children playing, she started yelling things like “faggot”, “gays cause AIDS”, “I wish you would all die”, and such at us. I’m not sure how she could look at a naked body and determine sexuality (I sure can’t) but this definitely confirmed that homophobia is alive even on the Left Coast, and the example this mother was setting for her children is that anyone who is different deserves death. A scary thought.

But, I hate to dwell on the negative. It was an incredibly positive experience. The VAST majority of people who saw us waved, honked, flashed peace signs, and laughed at our group as we passed them. I’m sure their are dozens (hundreds?) of videos of us on YouTube, I’m tempted to check them out just to see if me and my body make a random appearance. There are some pics floating around and we had a camera which was misplaced, but hopefully it will materialize soon so I can share some. I had a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it again next year, though I should definitely wear more sunscreen.

Well, it seems my backside made the news, I have “Your Body Is Beautiful” painted on my back. Most of these articles show nipples and penises (THE HORROR):
LA Weekly ArticleLAist Article, Grist.com, Huffington Post

And here are a couple links if you are interested in more information:
Official Website, LA Bikeride FB Page

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