Good Parenting

Overheard as I was riding along the Cross Kirkland Connector today.

Boy: “Mommy, I’m getting that feeling in my legs again.”

Mom: “Just keep pedaling.”

I gave her a big smile, gave a supportive “crank it” motion with my arm as I passed her, saying, “Pedal through it.”

An Hour of Hmmmmm | Ride | Strava

DJ My Ride

After my last success with Spotify’s Group Session feature with my VT Crew (from People Playlists), today I dropped a picture of me on my ride in the group chat with a Group Session link, and then invited them to “DJ My Ride.”

Buds in, and ready to be surprised.

I said, “I’m starting with my Surreywood playlist. But I don’t need to stay there. Listen to these early MTV songs and add what other tunes they remind you of.”

It made for great surprises as I was riding along.

Next time I’ll have to include the link to my garmin livetrack so they can see when I’m approaching climbs and pep the music up accordingly.

The OG2Me Snohomish Loop | Ride | Strava

“With A Little Help From My Friends”

This week’s recharge ride was a shorter solo ride to wrap up a busy week. The playlist I put on was “VT Crew,” (see People Playlists) because my friend group from Virginia Tech was front and center on my mind after helping some family friends for the last few weeks.

VT Crew is a group of friends, about of half of us went to high school together in Richmond, and the rest were college additions. This group survived the many trials of college, and has further survived the test of time, as evidenced by our occasional reunions (the last one in 2018 when most of us were hitting the 50 landmark) and by our ongoing “VT Crew” text thread.

When I took my son to tour colleges, I remember a guide saying “you can make a big college small, but you can’t make a small college big.” I nodded vigorously, thinking of my VT Crew. That is exactly what they did, at a state college of 25,000 students. The bigness of VT meant it had a lot to offer and a lot for us to be exposed to and to learn. But my VT Crew brought the smallness. The closeness. The laughs during the highs. And the support during the lows.

I can’t imagine high school and college without this group. The lowest point in my life came in the fall semester of my sophomore year at college. And that exactly coincided with the period that I was most detached from this group.

We have been helping family friends whose son is struggling in college. And everything I heard about his situation reminded me of my sophomore year. He’s half a country away from his family, and I’m encouraging him to lean on his friends at school. They can be the safety net that catches you.

VT Crew, I love you all! And I am ever grateful for the bond we have. 🤗💗

VT Crew | Ride | Strava

People Playlists

I love grouping music into meaningful collections. I have too many playlists in Spotify to count. So many, in fact, that I’ve come to group the playlists by the following themes:

  1. Setting (2 Wheels, 4 Wheels, 8 Wheels, Boat, …)
  2. Emotions (Chill, Hmmm, Spectator, …)
  3. Genre(ish) (Guitar, Thump, Twang, …)
  4. People (7th Kid, VT Crew, Charu, …)
  5. Dance (Salsa, Swing, Cha Cha, …)
  6. Writing (“Soundtrack”, Top Ten, Live and Learn Blog, …)
  7. Misc. (Roller Bounce, Guilty Pleasures, To Listen, …)

Theme #4 is what I want to talk about here: People. I can measure the closeness of an individual to me based on how many of “their songs” have made it into “my playlists.” And in that regard, I have a healthy number of people close to me to have given me very broad musical tastes.


  1. 7th Kid – the first and deepest exposure to music was through my six older siblings and my parents. Rock, Pop, Folk, Country, Rap, and many sub-genres therein.
  2. VT Crew – I have a closeknit friend group that started in high school in Richmond and doubled in size in college at Virginia Tech. And we continue to stay in touch today. A few weeks ago, as a matter of fact, I introduced them to Spotify’s “Group Session” feature where we all collectively DJed a playlist of college memories that we were all listening to “together” … in Washington, California, Virginia, and Maryland.
  3. Charu – This one is more obvious, but nonetheless notable. With your spouse, it goes beyond “their songs” and “my playlists.” When Charu and I got married, it was “her CD collection” and “my CD collection” becoming “our CD collection.” We’ve learned a lot about music from each other, but across that entire collection, Enigma, PM Dawn, and Phil Collins hold a special place in my heart (and in my playlists) as the albums we were listening to on the day we spent together, when we discovered that we were more than friends. I love you, honey!
  4. Boyz – As a parent, there is a lot of influence you have on your kids. Like with the above, this is obvious. But what I hadn’t accounted for, and love even more, is how much they have influenced me (and continue to do so). And Drew managed to do what I failed at accomplishing for more than two decades: Charu now has Country music on her playlists!

Last night was a fun reminder of this music influence coming from the people you’re close to. My boys Drew and Luke were home for spring break and we went to the Kraken hockey game. Early in the second period, at a break in the action, the house DJ put on Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky.” The three of us were bouncing and singing away … and ended up on the Jumbotron for all to appreciate the beauty of a father and his two sons rapping together.

(I will be reaching to the arena to see if I can get a copy of that footage 🙂)

“Come on Thunder”

From Defy the Weather … Provoke the Weather | Ride | Strava:

I was feeling especially weather-oblivious today, and that was reinforced by the first song that played on my 2wheels playlist: Sometimes, by James:

There’s a storm outside, and the gap between crack and thunder
Crack and thunder, is closing in, is closing in
The rain floods gutters, and makes a great sound on the concrete
On a flat roof, there’s a boy leaning against the wall of rain
Aerial held high, calling “come on thunder, come on thunder”

Love that image!! I was smiling for the full 50 today.

When I got home, I pulled up the lyrics and video for that song. The video is awesome, with the band playing in a rough sea. And as he sings the above line, there’s this “bring it on” / “lean in” pose:

“Come on thunder”

Unfortunately, no single frame of that video captures the full pose, so let me leverage one of my favorite uses of that same pose:

“God is in the rain” – V for Vendetta

And an honorable mention for this usage, because it was, in fact, real!

Prince at the Super Bowl, singing Purple Rain … in the rain!


I remember the feeling of complete satisfaction I felt in college the first time I completely disassembled my drivetrain, cleaned it, repacked the hubs, and reassembled it. I loved the sense of understanding the machine I was using.

After college, I returned to riding in 2004. That was when we had two kids and my time was a bit more spoken for. So all bike cleanings came as part of a servicing package the local bike shop would perform.

Until last week …

Here’s the photo summary, accompanied by some alternate lyrics 😀.

“Squeaks Like Violence, Break the Silence” – Depeche Mode

On last week’s ride, I heard a “different” sound, and that had me thinking “when is the last time I did a tune up?” which then immediately went to “oh no, I _need_ to replace the chain.” Thankfully I caught it before it was over-worn,

“Shiny Happy Drivetrain Running Fast” – R.E.M.

Today’s >16mph avg was effortless … and given how much gunk I scrubbed off of these babies, I discovered one ingredient in my previous slower pace. I’m switching to “dry” lube only … the “wet” attracts way too much bad stuff.

“That will be the return to yourself. The return to competence.” – Enigma

On rides where I’m bringing music, I don’t start the music right away. The first 10 minutes are spent with me listening to the bike to make sure everything sounds in order. On my first ride on Verse after this cleaning, I realized that 30 minutes had gone by while I was listening.

“You Hear That?”

“Hear what?”


Literally, a well-oiled machine.

“I Can Ride 55” – Sammy Hagar | Ride | Strava

Four vs. For

Riding with a good number of our crew, such that my “audible warning” to pedestrians/bikers we were approaching was “On your left; four bikes.”

At one point, as we were passing a couple of pedestrians after giving that warning, one of the walkers said, “It’s for pedestrians, too.”

I resisted yelling back, “f o u r, four” for fear of them only hearing “f” and “u”.

5/6 of CCBC | Ride | Strava


One of my bike crew pinged the group thread saying, “weather outside is pretty nasty; what do people think about meeting up for a Zwift ride”. I responded, “WWOO (Weather Whatever, Outdoors Only)“.

This has become my mantra. I tried Peloton for about 9 months in 2021. And in the end, I never had a ride feel anywhere near as satisfying as riding outdoors. My teammates do a good amount of indoor training, and I do wish it worked for me, because I see how quickly they can develop. But for me, I’m discovering that the main motivations for biking are the outdoors and the exploration.

So I’ll continue to ride slow and happy.

Harder, Faster, Louder … Blisser | Ride | Strava

The harder I worked, the faster I rode, and the louder the tunes (“VT Crew” playlist was a good choice), the more oblivious I was to the unfun weather around me.

I didn’t even realize I was completely saturated until I started shedding my layers in the garage. Mission Accomplished!

Bodeans, FIFY

Was listening to The Bodeans “Good Things” on the ride today. And it occurred to me that they have bad grammar in their lyrics:

No, no, no, don’t pass me over
No, no, no, don’t pass me by
See, I can see good things for you and I
Yeah, good things for you

That should be you and me. Since a rhyme is involved, here are my replacement lyrics:

No, no, no, don’t pass me over
No, no, no, English is easy
See, I can see good things for you and me
Yeah, good things for you

Bodeans, you’re welcome.

400: “Oh Yes They Call Him ‘The Streak'” | Ride | Strava