Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Magic of the Bicycle

Many people bike for many different reasons. Those are not the people I want to address. They already know why they bike and how it betters their lives. I want to speak to those of you who don't bike and have no clue as to the many benefits and the enjoyment that can come with making cycling a part of your life. Bicycling is special.  It's freeing, energizing, and relaxing. It can destroy stress and depression. It can take you many places at a pace that allows you to observe the world around you, instead of the typical speed of society, where you see only a blur as you fly by.

For some it's just a small superficial reason to bike such as to stay a little more healthy. For others, it's a deep, spiritual connection to themselves and to the world around them. The bicycle brings them peace, understanding, and simplicity. But what ever the reason, it is a certainty that a bike can give everyone a bit of magic in their personal life. That magical experience is different for everyone, but only by spending time on a bike can you truly find out how it can change your life and become a special part in how you live. Just a simple act of spinning around the block can bring back a flood of memories from your childhood and fill you with so much nostalgia that you couldn't possibly doubt the magic.

It's amazing that most of you, who don't ride, see a bike as hard work, exercise and exhaustion. Really? Why? You can control how fast you go, how far, where, and with the multiple gears on most bikes you can even control the ease at which you navigate your local terrain. I have even heard people say it's boring. Really? Considering that bikes brought you great joy as kids and took you everywhere you wanted to go, what changed? Did the bike become less fun? Or did you? Are you afraid? Or lazy? Why do we limit ourselves to the idea that it's too hard, it's exercise, I don't have time, or it's for young people? Just about any excuse you can come up with is absurd.

Obviously not everyone, who doesn't ride, is going to jump on a bike and change their life after reading this blog. But even if only one person does and gives it an honest whirl, they won't regret it. I hope that person is you! Take a chance and better your life both physically and mentally. If you do, I guarantee you will add some awesome memories as well.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Take Care Of Your Gear.

It just makes sense, if you want your gear to be dependable and last as long as possible, take care of it.  Your equipment is far too important to neglect and costly at that.  All equipment from your bikes, to your canoes and kayaks, to your tents and hammocks, even your cookware, must be cleaned and maintained regularly.  It's far too easy to go out and enjoy that planned weekend, then come home afterwards and disregard the work of cleaning and properly storing your gear.  But this type of laziness bites you in the rear, because the next time you go to use it, the gear is dirty, damaged and in disarray.

Part of the experience of outdoor adventure is self-reliance.  It's being able to take care of yourself and your gear so that you can be safe and prepared, but also so you can enjoy the experience without worrying about something failing or left at home.  It's responsability!  You do not want to go out in the woods without being responsible.  That's asking for trouble.

Make it a priority to maintain your gear and to check it regularly for defects.  It's a good idea to start when you buy it.  Take it out of the box and test it.  Then clean and properly store it so that it's ready to go when you want it.  Then check it again before your trip departure.  After you return, clean and check it again, before storing it properly.  Repetition is key here.  It prevents you from forgetting an important part of your gear and helps you to take notice of a possible defect or damaged part you might have missed the last time around.

Take the time to take care of your gear.  It's a small sacrifice to make so that you can spend your time living it up and having the time of your life without worry!  Peace of mind comes from proper planning and maintaining of the necessities needed to go on that adventure.  Do it right and have fun!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Finding The Right Bike!

The secret to picking out the right bike is not listening to anyone! There are bike shop owners who can lend tips and suggestions, but beware, what I have found out is that their advice can be biased and self-serving. So why listen to me? Because I am not going to tell you what type of bike to buy, but rather, help you find out what you want in a bike. The rest is up to you.

The first thing that you have to determine is what you expect to do with the bike. Are you wanting to race, exercise, ride on dirt trails, or just cruise around the neighborhood? Or maybe a combination? This is where you have to make your first smart decision. What do you want the bike to do? There is a bike for every type of riding. And remember, if you start with one bike and decide to try another style of riding, you can always buy another bike. You can't have too many!

Once you decide which type of bike fits what you expect to do with it, then you have to go and try some out. Whether it be new or used, make sure you find the one that is the best fit. The majority of shops let you test ride their bikes. If they don't, go to another shop. This is not the shop you want to do business with. Remember, bikes come in different sizes to fit short people to very tall people. This is where bike shop owners can help size you to the appropriate size frame. But beware of them trying to redirect you to something other than what you have decided you want. They may try to sell you the whole store if you let them, so stay on target with what you want. Also, visit multiple shops. They each carry multiple brands, which differ in how they fit a rider. Comfort and fit is the next important decision you have to make. No one brand is the best, and each company may have a lot to offer in quality bikes. But get branding out of your head. You are looking at what feels good to you and looks good to you.

What? Looks good? Why does that matter? If it doesn't look like you want it to or if it's not the color you really like, then are you truly going to enjoy every aspect of riding? A bike is a personal machine and an accessory to your life. It's yours. It has to speak to you and speak to others about what type of person you are. It's like a trustworthy friend that you can always enjoy coming to and sharing quality time with.

Now comes an even harder decision...paying the cash for the bike. There are bikes for every budget, but remember you get what you pay for. It's better to spend a little more and buy a quality bike that will hold up with minimal periodic maintenance rather than buying a low quality one and spending a lot of money in excessive maintenance. Besides, if your bike is always needing adjustment and work done on it, it's not reliable and you definitely won't enjoy riding it. So, shop wisely!

Once the money has been laid down, ride the damn bike! There is nothing worse than someone buying a beautiful bike and letting it sit and waste away in the garage. This is your final decision to overcome, and that's to get off your butt and ride. It's easy to talk about what you want to do and it's easy to buy things that you think you will use doing those things. However, in reality, actually getting out and doing it is the hardest part and you have to stay on task. But, you can do it and you won't regret it.

Oh...and don't forget to personalize your bike. Put a rack on the back, a basket on the front, maybe a bell, or any other item you would like. Upgrade the seat to something a little more comfortable, or change the grips to something other than black. Again, your bike is a personal machine that needs additions that give it the functionality and aesthetics that fit your lifestyle. Enjoy the bike and make it a part of your life!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kids Need To Play Outside!

What happened to kids being able to go out and ride their bike, build a fort, climb a tree, or play hide-and-seek? What happened to them being able to go out and explore their little part of the world while pretending, learning, and creating as they went? What happened to them being able to go outside and get dirty and maybe a skinned knee? 
I know I'm not the only one that has realized that kids don't play outside much anymore. And I know I'm not the only one that is saddened by that. Yet, kids still don't play outside much. I have talked to many parents and read countless articles supporting kids needing to get outside but have seen very little physical support. And I know that some parents will argue that their kids play sports and get a lot of outside time playing them. While that's healthy and fun, I am talking more about time outside doing unplanned things that they themselves get to come up with. 

It is through this type of unhindered playing that kids strengthen themselves. They make themselves who they want to be. They learn things on their own, build and fix things on their own, socialize on their own, and best of all, learn to be themselves on their own. 

Now, if your kids aren't used to playing outside on their own, they may not know what to do at first and may not be motivated to come up with the endless ways to occupy themselves. However, I found in my own experience of changing the downward spiral of kids growing up too fast, that once they catch the outdoor itch, they beg to go outside. Even if they have to be kicked out of the house a few times first. Trust me, the motivation soon comes. There's nothing like going outside to see your kids playing hardcore in the dirt or running around the yard playing tag. It's priceless!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Better Tasting Ride!

Coconut Macaroons - High energy,
 great tasting, and easy to make.
Like most other riders, I got into the habit of packing all the popular, expensive, and not always great tasting food that is heavily marketed for today's riders. How easy to grab a few sports bars out of your pantry and toss them into your pack. But, also like many of those riders, I got very tired of them quickly. 

So, I began researching healthy, high energy, and easy to make foods that would pack well. Oh...and tasted great. There are many great resources available on the internet and once you start experimenting, you will find that you can add much of your own creativity as well.  

There are many benefits to making your own riding food. For one thing, fresher ingredients. Who doesn't like that? It also costs much less. I think we all like to save money. There is definitely more variety.  It's fun researching and coming up with new things to try.  And let's not forget the most important thing, it tastes better! 

I believe we all fall into the traps of the quick and easy, or this is what the pros are using and all the hype that goes with it, that we forget about about what we can do ourselves. Just like the great feeling of accomplishment we get when we finish a long ride on our own power, there is a similar feeling when we feed that power with our own, homemade fuel. There is power in being self-sufficient. So, start experimenting and enjoy a better tasting ride!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Connecting With People.

One of the best things about getting out and enjoying outdoor adventures, is the ability to connect with others, whether that be with spouses, best friends, or the people we meet along the way. Even in my solo adventures, I have had the luxury of meeting and enjoying conversations with new people. It's part of the adventure. We aren't just trying to find new places, we are also trying to find new people and cultures.  And maybe in the process, find a little more of ourselves. 

There are so many people on this globe and a lot of them have some very interesting things to share. Opening yourself up to those connections allow you to expand your little part of the globe while they get to expand theirs. Communication, whether it was used for information sharing or social entertainment, has been a way of life since the beginning. It's who we are. It's what we do.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Don't have time to ride your bike? BS!

Finding time to ride is always a challenge. However, despite what you may think, it is not impossible and in fact you can ride everyday. We have all been stuck in that job that feels like it takes our entire day away. We all have after work commitments such as home projects, children's school events, church activities, etc. But, for our physical and mental health, we owe it to ourselves to get out and enjoy the benefits of riding a bike. And the best part is, that the more you get out, the more time that magically materializes.

Here's how to squeeze in some extra bike time.

  1. Set a time aside for riding everyday, even if it is only 15 minutes or so.  Get up a half hour early, or buy some bike lights to go out after dark. A quick jaunt around the block or two will make a difference. The act of just getting out is the hardest part. 
  2. Keep your bike maintained and easily accessible.  If your bike doesn't function well, or you can't get to it behind all the clutter in your garage you might as well forget about it. But, if it's sitting where you see it and can't ignore it, you're more likely to grab it and go.
  3. Instead of running your simple errands in the car, take your bike!  I can get to just about anywhere I need within 15 minutes. The grocery store, the post office, whatever.  There is no better way to do what you need to do and save some gas in the process. And when I can't pack everything in my backpack, I use my trusty bike trailer. 
  4. Find a riding buddy or two!  It's always easier to do something with team support, for you and your team mates. 
  5. Ride local group rides and sign up for charity/fun rides.  There are usually group rides available in most areas that are free to join.  Many of them are sponsored by local bike shops or individuals who want to build support for biking. And most of them are designed solely for relaxed, recreational riding only.  There are also charity rides and fun rides that you can sign up for, obviously with entrance fees to raise money.  But even better, not only do you get to do something you love with hundreds of other great people doing what they love, but you do it for a great cause as well!
  6. Download MapMyRide or Strava.  These free apps allow you to track your rides.  You can see where you have gone, how long it took you, how many calories you've burned, and even post it to your friends.  These apps just add a little more fun to your ride and can help feed your habit.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Documenting Your Adventures!

Isn't it great to have the ability to snap a photo instantly when you want to or need to?  Throughout history, people have always documented their adventures.  From writing it down, to drawing it or painting it, to photographing it, it's been done.  But never as easy as it can be done now.

Think about the efforts that were taken to capture the moment, before the technology of today's cameras and phones.  Moments that were handwritten, sketched, and painted took quite a bit of time to produce.  Hell, by the time you got done painting a beautiful sunrise, it was probably the next day. And forget about an instant capture of a person in motion. And what about the ability to share what you did?  Back then you could show someone in person, put it on the wall,  or mail it.  But now, just
post in on Facebook, Twitter, etc., write a caption, and tag everyone you know so they can see it pretty much instantly.  What a change!

It's great to have the the technology to document life.  I am a big advocate for keeping past experiences alive and there is no better way than with today's advancements.  The only thing I would urge, is to try to capture them in the best way you can.  Sometimes, we take the luxury to snap a quick shot for granted and don't do the moment justice by getting the best shot we can.  Instead we get a mediocre one.

That being said, take advantage of the innovations that have been brought to us and get out and use them.  Experience more adventure and take more pictures and videos along the way!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Don't Forget About The Big Muddy!

The Missouri River is such an important part of history.  The importance of this vital river goes so far back into the history of man that we can only imagine what is was like. But we do know that it has played an important part in our expansion west to just about everything to do with the Kansas City area. And we should be grateful and enjoy what it can provide us, especially in the way of adventure!

However,  I am finding by my many conversations with people that this mighty river is highly underappreciated.  The views being expressed are that the Missouri is nothing more than a dirty, nasty, and polluted river that is not useful for much more than supply transport. And definitely not worth recreational purposes.

I must disagree!  Unless you have been on the river and experienced the power and thrill you can't say anything.  There are many adventurers out there taking advantage of what the Missouri can offer and enjoying the views and history that only it can provide.  Yes, it's dirty, but it's been dirty since the beginning of time.  Missouri is a muddy state.  

As for the pollution, welcome to what humans do. But if more people don't take an interest in the Missouri River and just forget about it instead, then it will only get worse.  Unfortunately, the majority of the lakes and rivers in Missouri have some form of pollutants in them.  But the levels are low enough that there are no issued warnings to stay out of the water, that I have yet found.  The Missouri Conservation Department supports the use of the river, does regular monitoring of water quality,  and issues warnings as needed.  

And just let me say, a view like the one above from a kayak or canoe is quite a sight!  The thing about history is that it is always continually changing.  The river changes, the city changes, and the people with them.  Get out and experience the history and the adventures yet to be had.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Don't Let Life Pass You By!

Don't be one of those people who look back on their life and realize they could have done so much more! Get out and live life to the fullest. Go see places, do things, meet people, try new food and experience the wonders that exist out there. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our daily tasks that we get stuck in a box and feel like we can't get out. But, we can and we must.

Most people may think that you have to be rich to see the world. Sure, money does allow you to go many places. But, I can tell you that there are many places you can go that do not take much money, if any. You might not be able to travel to another country, but you can see places that you never knew existed. You might not be able to stay in 5-star hotels or eat at gourmet restaurants, but you will have a time of your life. It comes down to priorities. If you are willing to tough it out a little in the way of comfort, you can then see many great places. Adventure, that's the priority!

Life is so full of adventure, which we can experience if we choose. Sure, some of us may never be able to travel to exotic far off places, but we can see as much of the world as possible and meet all kinds of new people along the way. We just need a little initiative and motivation. So here you go, "Get off your butt and go live life."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Give Back To The Earth!

Anyone who spends quality time outdoors and visits many different places will tell you there is always one thing those places have in common...trash! It's a sad reality. You can't go anywhere without seeing litter. From our highways and neighborhoods, to our forests and our streams, trash seems to always be present. And what's worse, is that it seems to span generations.  Civilization seems to always leave the worst part of itself behind, believing that everything will be just fine. 

Unfortunately, for those of us that slow our lives down and seek the beauty of the earth and all that it has to offer, also get to see the ugliness that humans have to offer. I believe people are innately good, but that they just do not think about the consequences of their actions and the future it alters.  Each person gets to choose what type of legacy they leave behind. Is it a legacy of caring, protection, and life? Or one of neglect, ignorance, and demise? 

Humans have the ability to achieve remarkable things. So...tell me why we choose to do the most despicable things as well? 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

How Depressing Is Bad Weather?

As we all know, bad weather can be very depressing. We go to bed having the desire to get up and enjoy another beautiful day biking our favorite route, hiking our favorite trail, or kayaking our favorite lake. But instead we wake to a chilly, windy, and  wet day. Our hopes are dashed and the blues start to move in. Now, a few of us are extremists who usually don't let a little weather stand in the way of our fun. But, the depression still gets to us all the same and that's because we all enjoy doing fun things when the weather is fine. Our body and mind soak up the bright, warm day and rejuvenates themselves. Weather contrary to this, tends to do the opposite. 

But hang in there, because the next beautiful day is just around the corner. You will get the chance again to enjoy those activities that make you itch. So, enjoy the day for what it is and use it as a day to catch up on your favorite book, arts and crafts day with the kids, or some alone time with your sweetheart. But whatever you do, don't waste it! Life is way too short!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Prepping For An Adventure

Whether you are planning a one day hiking excursion, a weekend canoe trip or maybe a week long bike ride, the most important thing you need to do is prepare properly. There is nothing worse than getting out on your adventure, getting out too far to turn back, and realizing you forgot somthing vital. So, do your homework, make a list and do it at least a week or two before your trip.

There are so many things that need to be brought on any particular trip that are necessary for your safety and your comfort. Taking adequate time to research and compile the appropriate gear is worth the effort. It makes an adventure more successful. If you are fairly new to the outdoors or just want to hone up on the advances in gear, there are endless websites and blogs dedicated to help the average person know what is a must and what is frivolous. But remember, you need to practice with your gear. If you don't know how to use it, it does no good.

Imagine this scenario: You have reached the national park that you chose for your weekend camping trip. You and your family of five load up your gear on your backs and hoof it another two miles into the forest. But right as you reach your campsite, clouds begin to move in and you now have only 10 to 15 minutes to set up your tent. You pull the brand new tent off your back, pull it out of it's bag, open it and realize right off, no instructions. That's ok, you can figure it out, right? So, you begin trying to set it up, but now it's sprinkling and then the second realization pops into your head. Having not checked your gear properly, you were unable to catch the missing tent pole that should have been in the bag. Now, it's pouring.

Don't be this guy. Prepare appropriately so you and your family can have an adventure of a lifetime!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pushing Your Limits!

If there is one thing that I know for sure, it's that you can't improve yourself at all if you don't push your limits. We have to stretch ourselves and be forward-thinking in order to accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves. Each consecutive goal we set should be a little closer to our believed limits. What we will inevitably learn is that our limits will continue to move further away from us. It is only when we become stagnant or complacent that our limits tend to smack us in the face.

That is why it is very important to get ourselves in the right mindset, set the goals that help us defy our limits and then do the work to reach them. And let me just say, it is work. If it wasn't, then it wouldn't be fun! So, strive to push your limits and dream of something better. You owe it to yourself! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Get Out On The Water And Paddle!

Being out on a lake or river early in the morning is such an awesome experience. You feel very connected to nature and using your own power to propel you through the water makes you feel strong and capable of anything. Unfortunately, we don't give ourselves enough opportunities to use our full strength and endurance. Get out on the water more and it will give you a true test of your abilities. Most of us need more challenge and excitement in our lives. Spending time out on the water can deliver these things.

I challenge myself everyday in some way or another, and most of the time I prove myself. Sometimes I don't and have to go back for a rematch, or two. But making an effort to get out and put myself in more and more challenging endeavors allows me to grow as an individual and not get caught in the everyday grind of the world. We need to make time to enjoy what has been given us. Only then can we truly appreciate it.

Being out on the water is an adventure that gives you an appreciation of the beauty the world and its people have to offer. It also gives you insight to what needs to be done to protect and preserve that beauty.

If you have never been out in a canoe or kayak, try it. You will like it without a doubt. If it has been a while since you have, time to change that. Rise to the challenge and experience more. Live life!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Quality, Reliable and Functional Ge

When you buy outdoor gear, the most important things to remember are quality, reliability and functionality. If it is good quality, it will last longer and be very reliable. If it is highly functional and easy to use, you will use it more often. We outdoorsman fall into two traps. We either buy low quality and aim more for quantity or we fall for the next multi-functional, newfangled item on the market, because it's cool rather than truly functional. Remember, quality doesn't have to be expensive and simple functionality usually trumps complex gadgets. 

As adventurers, we spend a lot of time and money on our escapades, that we can stand to choose better gear, which in the long run typically means saving money. You really need to be particular when choosing gear, because having quality, reliable and functional gear in the outdoors means being safer and more comfortable.

How do you find the right gear without being able to fully test it? Unfortunately, most people don't get to test gear before they buy, but there are ways to get some good info about items before you do buy them. First, there are reviews and blogs available on just about every item there is. Many people have tried out the items before you. But remember, reviews are subjective and you really need to read as many as you can and from different media sources as well. Certain blogs and magazines can be biased for many reasons. Discussion boards are another line of communication, but the above warning applies here as well.

Second, there are face to face communication with dealers, fellow outdoorsman, etc. Again, these are subjective, but I find you can get a lot of useful information from the person you happened to meet on the trail. And, just remember, they are usually looking for information as well! 

And finally, use your common sense and self control! Remember that you know what works well for you.  You know what feels like good quality and what feels cheap. And you also know what is most likely just frivolous bells and whistles. Hence, self control. We sometimes have to hold ourselves back and think about what we truly are looking for and what it's purpose really is.

Our adventures are fun and exciting by themselves, but without appropriate gear they can be frustrating and dangerous. By truly taking our time and doing the research we can use the correct gear to enhance our experience. But remember, quality gear needs to be cleaned and maintained properly so it's always functioning reliably and consistently. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Take Care Of Your Bike!

It disturbs me greatly when I see someone riding a bike, which they obviously spent a fair amount of money on, and it hasn't been properly maintained. For one, if you have the money to buy such a bike, you probably have money to take it in once or twice a year. If not and you forked out everything you had on the bike, then by god, do it yourself! Don't let such a beautiful machine go to $#*@!

For those who have a little less of a bike and think that it's not worth anything so it doesn't matter.....shame! Less expensive bikes need to be taken care of even more than the higher quality ones. If you don't maintain them, they won't last long and you won't be riding.

The bare minimum maintenance can do wonders. If you do at least the following three things it will allow you to keep riding longer and cut down any expensive repairs or replacement parts down the road.

  1. DON'T LEAVE IT OUTSIDE! The weather isn't good for it, especially repeatedly. And you leave it more at risk to be stolen.
  2. IF YOU RIDE IT ON DUSTY ROADS, MUDDY TRAILS, OR WET DAYS, THEN WASH IT! Spray it of and wipe it dry, making sure to wipe all components and the chain.
  3. LUBRICATE IT! After you clean and dry it make sure to lube all moving mechanisms lightly with bike lube! Make sure to get every link in the chain. Wipe of any excess.

*Note: It is still recommended to take it in to a qualified bike tech once or twice a year for a tune-up.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Explore Difficult Paths

The most exciting thing about life is that it is filled with many paths. Some are easy and some are very difficult. With so many paths to choose, you really don't know how things are going to turn out. But, what I believe is that as long as you have the proper gear and skills, you will make it through, and usually with some valuable insight learned along the way. 

Maybe that's why I like biking so much. It's difficult and challenging, with many bumps and bruises along the way. But I always come out with something I can use in life later which makes it very rewarding. 

And maybe that is why I always choose the more difficult path. So I can live, learn, and therefore become stronger, smarter, and someday maybe...give it all back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Challenge To You

Sometimes we have to be challenged in order to get ourselves motivated to do something. That's why I am challenging everyone to get out once a day for some outdoor fun and physical rejuvenation.

Whether it be biking, walking, running, canoeing, or whatever, get out and get some fresh air and exercise. Not only is it good for your body, but it's good for your brain too! Mental exhaustion can take it's toll on you and seriously cause issues with your health and well-being. Take the challenge and strive for more out of yourself. We tend to accomplish more in life when we stay fit and are well rested physically and mentally. It's not a secret that humans are not as active as we used to be, so we need to push ourselves to change the downhill decline that seems to be the trend. Challenge yourself and change your life. Become a stronger you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Time To Hit The Outdoors!

Get out from behind your desk, stop whatever chore you are doing, and go look out the window. It's time to start doing all the awesome outdoor activities that rejuvenate the soul. Get the bike out of the garage or wherever it is hiding, get it tuned up, and start riding it. Dig out all your hiking gear, dust it off, and start doing some weekend hikes. Go spray out the canoe, hunt down the paddles, and get in the water. There are adventures waiting for you. Don't get caught in the everyday hustle of life and forget to make room for the fun things that everyone needs to unwind. Get out, experience the beauty of life!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sharing Adventure

Years ago, Laura and I used adventure seeking by bicycle to spend more time together and get away from some of the stress of everyday life. I myself was a bike lover, but she was not nearly as big a nut about it as me. However, we purchased this beautiful machine and took a chance on adventure. Needless to say we both discovered much more about each other and even ourselves in the process. It's amazing what exhilarating experiences can teach you. From lightning speed descents down hill to near death experiences we connected in ways never thought of. Our relationship and our quality of life have definitely benefited by this decision and neither of us would change it for the world. In fact, we strive for more and more opportunities to seek adventure, because now we might just be addicted!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Those Who Keep History Alive

I respect the people who dedicate their lives to preserving history. Whether they make it their career or volunteer their time, they really are inspiring.  Today I met two individuals who were extremely helpful, enthusiastic, and energetic about the history they obviously care about. They made my research at Fort Osage comfortable and interesting. 

People like these individuals make learning a fun thing and lend much needed human interaction to the process. It makes an experience memorable when you have people who truly care about what they do and enjoy sharing their knowledge as well. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Leaving Our Own History

Exploring past places and events can be very exciting and definitely educational. We can expand what we know and experience a small piece of the legacies left from those that came before us.  But make no mistake history is not over and we ourselves can leave our own history for those that follow us.  

I believe in the need to record our journeys through life so our legacies can be passed on. If it weren't for the journals left behind we wouldn't have the history experiences that we have. And now with the technology we have today, the ability to record our experiences are even easier and more far reaching. We just have to hope that the whole internet doesn't collapse and all our important records we have stored on the cloud are not lost forever....maybe we should invest in a few "old fashion" journals.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Food For Thought!

So, I was sitting here at my computer working on my next big adventure when curiosity got the better of me. As I am constantly putting together more and more adventures to cool places and highlighting interesting sites along the way, the question that keeps coming back to me is, how many cool things are available to us right around our own community and yet we are oblivious to them? I think sometimes we neglect what is around us because be are too busy to take the time to explore.  I have lived in Independence for about 15 years now and am certain there is a lot I do not know about our community. 

Years ago, Laura and I made a goal of trying to explore our local surroundings and then branching out in such away as to grasp more and more local history, food, and entertainment while still being able to reach to further places. This has worked out well. Each adventure we take with our family or friends is in a different direction. We then alternate between local and nonlocal destinations. On a map it would look like a network of spider webs connecting our trips. By using this method it keeps us from neglecting local treasures.

1827 LOG COURTHOUSE - 107 W. Kansas              Photo by Jarrod M. Warren

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Make Life Exciting!

In today's world, we have the tendency to put ourselves into more and more situations that chain us down in life.  We dream and plan for exciting experiences that quickly get buried by the demands of everyday expectations. In time we make less and less effort to go out and enjoy life. Does this have to be the way we live our lives?  Do we have to go another year and realize more opportunities to expand ourselves have passed us by yet again?

No. Life is too short to keep letting great opportunities pass. Get out more, stop saying yes to every job or task someone asks you to do, and start saying I want to experience more.  There is a time to put yourself, family and friends first so that you can get out and experience adventure and unforgettable memories. Relax and explore life before it's too late!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Enjoying Downtown Independence With A Cup Of Coffee!

As I sit and enjoy my "dark roast" coffee at Main Street Coffee House, the view of the Truman Courthouse makes my mind try to reflect on all the history that occurred here.  From expeditions with Lewis and Clark, to the Civil War, to Presidential History, to a Religious "melting pot", Independence, Missouri boasts quite a heritage. Everyone probably knows this much, but how many people actually take on the challenge of chasing down the historic elements and help preserve them.

That is one reason I created Self-Propelled Adventures. Through my personal rides I have been able to expose myself to so many of these elements that would have been lost to me otherwise. Now I have created a way for others to do the same. Whether it's past history or history to come, Self-Propelled Adventures can help everyone enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Personal Goal!

As of yesterday, I have set a goal to bike everyday, whether that be a short jaunt around my neighborhood, a trip to the store, or a long distance weekend ride. I find that biking as a mode of transportation allows me to slow down and enjoy my environment more.

In fact, I think more of us need to slow down and refocus our time to what is more important, like family, friends, fun, and adventure.  Life is way too short to waste it getting lost and overwhelmed in today's world.  We can't change the way the world moves, but we can sure the hell change the way we move in it! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Biking Historical Independence, MO!

Independence Missouri has a huge amount of history to relish in. Virtually everything a history nut could ever want to learn about has passed through this city at one time or another. From uncharted expeditions to politics, religion to outlaws, there is a wealth of knowledge to be had. What better way to explore it all, than by bike.  

Biking allows you to do multiple things. It allows you to slow down and smell the flowers. You can take your time and observe your world much closer, while still being able to cover more distance with greater ease. Put that together with the overflowing history of Independence and you get an ever-growing Petri dish of adventure.  

My purpose for creating Self-Propelled Adventures is to nurture this idea. By creating and planning the adventures, it allows me to start the process and you to "self-propel" you, family, and friends through endless possibilities of excitement and adventure. Memories that help history last forever.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Life Is Too Short!

In an ever increasingly chaotic world we sometimes get overwhelmed by work, family duties, and the demands of society. Which is why we need to strive to slow down and take time to experience memorable adventures.

Here at Self-Propelled Adventures we know that your life is busy! That is why we take our time to create and plan the adventures, so that you can spend your time living them!