"Bicycles have no walls."
"Chasing records doesn't keep me on my bike. Happiness does."
We are in the countdown! I've decided not to wait until the last minute to get everything together because, it seems, the closer you get to doing a planned activity the faster time goes! Someone once said, "The hurrier I go the behinder I get!" I don't want to get behind and I certainly don't want to get behinder.
Yesterday I went to see Jimmy Marbut at Sunshine Cycles. I took my bike for a tune-up and also took the list of items I need for the trip. The items I purchased are one (1) Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube for my chain, one (1) SRAM powerlink (in case my chain breaks), three (3) Park Emergency Tire Boots (in case I cut a tire), six (6) 700x18-23C Presta Standard tubes (in case I have a flat tire), one (1) 100 ounce CamelBak Lobo hydration pack, one (1) Park CT-5 chain tool, one (1) pair of Giant riding gloves, one (1) Pearl Izumi extremely brilliant fluorescent green vest, one (1) Salsa Cycles rain jacket (could have used it this week), one (1) SKS Xtra-Dry 3 quick-on-quick-off fender for rainy day riding, and one (1) Cateye cycle computer so I know my speed and cadence. I also ordered a Cannondale replacement derailleur hanger, chamois butter, and power gel. I can tell you about that stuff later.
We are in pretty good shape as far as supplies go. I want to buy a mirror so I can get a glimpse of what's coming from behind. I still need pepper spray for any unfriendly dogs that are faster than I am. I know I can buy pepper spray at bike shops but I want the kind you have to register with Homeland Security that will make a dog think, "Whoa! I'll never chase one of those again!" I talked with Barry Milliner, my son-in-law who is in law (Gwinnett County Sheriff Department) and Billy Ricketts, who always carries some kind of weapon (I think it's because he works in the children's ministry at church with Ray Finger!). Both Barry and Billy are checking on pepper spray for me. Also a friend of mine, Josh Warren, who is in the Gwinnett County Police Academy, was recently tazed and pepper-sprayed as part of his training. He told his mom, Patti, that he would rather be tazed fifty times than pepper-sprayed once. That's the kind of pepper spray I'm looking for! Lock and load! Here comes Snoopy!Do they make that in fire extinguisher sizes?
Don't get me wrong now. I'm not a dog-hater. Take a look at the two dogs above! The photo at the top is Tucker. He belongs to my daughter's family and would never bite anyone. He couldn't, he always has a tennis ball in his mouth looking for some sucker who will take that slobber-soaked orb and hurl it as far as possible so he can run, pick it up, re-soak it, and bring it back for another throw. When he's not re-soaking tennis balls he's doing what he's doing above!
The bottom picture is Zoe (pronounced Zoey). Zoe belongs to Jimmy at Sunshine Cycles. She's kind of a watchdog and kind of a greeter at Sunshine. I say kind of because most of the time she sleeps. She does look up once in a while, especially if she can find someone to scratch her belly. She's a watchdog alright; come watch me sleep!
I'm sure King David had a lot more things to watch and avoid than dogs. He was a man of war and even as a teenage shepherd boy he put a real hurtin' on the big guy Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40-51). At one point Goliath, sneering in contempt, said, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with a stick?" Well it really wasn't the stick that Goliath Dog should have been concerned about. He should have checked the kid's other hand, you know, the one with the sling. Pepper spray would have been a party favor compared what came shooting out of that thing! One shot and the big dog, Goliath, never chased another Israelite soldier (or biker) again!
David relied on God for his protection. During the conflict David said, "You come to me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty--the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head" (v. 45-46a), And he did! Sorry about your luck Dog!
Later in his life, David wrote the often quoted Psalm of God's protection and presence, Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows (hopefully Hampton Inn);
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk (or ride)
through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff (and my pepper spray)
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil (chain lube).
My cup (100 oz. CamelBak) overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing
love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord