Archive for June, 2016

When You Tour by Bicycle, the World Is On Your Side

| June 10, 2016 5:08 pm

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Muhammad Ali

This year, many ACTCers travel to far-flung places: Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, New Zealand, across the US, and our own Sierra to the Sea.

Bicycle traveling is perfect: it is fast enough to see the world, yet slow enough to meet the humanity. It is not uncommon for cyclo-tourists to get invited to dinner and perhaps a stay over by total strangers, receive advice for not-to-be-missed sites, good restaurants, concerts, or farmers markets, many of which cannot be found in guidebooks.

Beginners or even veteran cyclists often mistakenly think that they can’t do it. They are not fast enough. The rides are too hard. The trips are too expensive. Impossible — Not!

Speed is rarely a prerequisite to have an enjoyable tour. Ride at your own pace, stop to smell the roses, take videos and pictures, sample the local cuisine, and make a point not to go by a bakery without checking it out.

Flat rides are usually windy and hilly rides, well, hilly. They are especially taxing with extra weight of panniers, but smart cyclo-tourists keep the average daily mileage between 20-50 miles. If it is unusually hilly, make it even shorter and take rest days.

Rick Steves has a saying that, the more money one spends, the higher the wall surrounds oneself. Not many regular folks stay at 5-star hotels. It is counter-intuitive that less expensive trips, like many led by ACTC members, are the best, bar none.

Make your next vacation a bicycle tour – it is not impossible. Once you try it, you will never go back because when you travel by bicycle, the world is on your side.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

In Flanders Fields and the Four Chaplains

| 5:02 pm

 

Having grown up in Vietnam during the 60’s, I remembered the poverty of the Vietnamese populace and the sheer war-horror. On Memorial Day, my two treasured remembrances are to read “In Flanders Fields” and the Four Chaplains.

In Flanders fields
By Canadian physician John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Humanity at its finest
In WWII, four Army chaplains, Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed Minister, gave up their life jackets; Rabbi Goode gave up his gloves as well as their transport ship, Dorchester, was sinking into the icy cold North Atlantic. When giving up their life jackets, they did not call out for a Jew, a Catholic, a Protestant, or an Atheist. They simply gave their life jackets to the next man in line. Their bravery and openness stands the test of time as what our nation stands for, as applicable today as when we were fighting the fascist Nazi ideologue.

Watch the Four Chaplains documentary movie on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ewJp8HhYzA

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President