Sunday, December 20, 2015

Miracle on 34th Street

I am sitting here watching one of my favorite Christmas shows-- Miracle on 34th Street
The case has been decided, Santa Claus does exist. Some of us call him Kris Kringle.  Others call him St. Nick.  Is he a jolly old elf? Is he a legend of splendid acts of charity and giving?
The story began in Bethlehem. Jesus was born in a manger.  God became man and took a human nature.  He was greeted by three kings while resting in the arms of His mother, the blessed Virgin Mary.  They brought him gifts and this gift giving continued, like it does now, through the ages.  Saint Nicholas maintained this tradition throughout his life.  But Christ always was his focus as it should always be.

The movie, Miracle on 34th Street is a wonderful movie, yet it misses the point.  Its not important to believe in Santa Claus.  Its not important to receive gifts to the point of excess.  The true point of Christmas is to realize that God humbled Himself and became man.  He is our Christmas gift.  He gave us His life.   Christ desires us all to believe Him: his word, his teachings, and His Church more than a generic and meaningless belief "in" His existence as we believe in the existence of atoms.
Mere belief is never enough.  Belief in God must be demonstrated.  Saint Nicholas, a priest and bishop, truly and entirely believed in Christ; therefore, he humbled himself to imitate Christ by giving of himself.  He gave up possessions and wealth to serve the poor (needy and lost) with a goal of leading them all to Christ and eternal life in heaven.

 Saint Nicholas is known to have saved three daughters from prostitution by secretly placing dowry money in a bag and dropping down the chimney of their home so the father of these beautiful woman could be married and preserved from debauchery.  Saint Nicholas is thought well of by mariners who prayed for his intercession to be saved from ship wreck amidst of a raging sea.

Saint Nicholas, as a bishop of the Catholic Church in the East fought the heresy of Arianism.  His desire to stay true to the faith taught through the ages caused him great pain and suffering at the hands of the Arians who had him tossed in jail and tortured to deny the true faith.  He remained true to Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, setting an example to all of us to always stand true for the faith even if it hurts.

So, there is a miracle on 34th street.  Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with a jolly old elf, but with the giving up of ourselves for the salvation and welfare of others.  It is for all of us to remember, including me who just posted a list of things I would like to receive.  That is wrong thinking, and a poor example of the true spirit of Christmas.  The true spirit of Christmas was exemplified by the three wise men (who risked their lives to deliver their gifts to God), and Saint Nicholas.  Each of them took an opportunity to give to whoever needed their help regardless of cost.  Let us remember Christmas that way; to give rather than to receive and to give of ourselves rather than things.

I did receive that Brooks Saddle given to me from my wonderful bride.  I do appreciate it very much and hope I can be a better man as we finish this Christmas season and a new year commences.  Til then, i shall see you on the road.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Wish List

Its December 10, 2015 and there is no, I mean zero, snow on the ground.  I do not ever remember a time while living in the Syracuse area of a time when there was no snow on the ground.  We have always had a white Christmas.  To top it all off, the temperatures are quite warm for the season too.  Today, for instance, it reached 50 degrees. It was a great day for a bike ride and the entire month has been a wonderful time to get out and ride.

So, since I have been cycle dreaming all Fall and Winter, I have cycled indoors on my trainer, on my spin bike, and I have ridden outside.  Last weekend I rode 40 miles along the Erie Canal between DeWitt and Canastota.  Because I am still riding my bicycles, I have been searching all over the internet for new ideas for gifts to buy my bicycles.  I will share some of my thoughts:

A Brooks Saddle.  This is tops for my Surly Long Haul Trucker.  It is the class of most touring bicycles.  Its an all leather saddle which breaks in over time and molds to your tush to become the most comfortable saddle ever.  The Brooks B-17 Saddle is made in England, and it seems that all wonderful and classic cycling gear for touring and bike commuting originates across the pond.  Take a look and watch a few videos on the Brooks tradition.  You will be hooked too.

I also would like the Cambium saddle for my road bike.  The Cambium saddle is made of natural rubber and denim.  It flexes beautifully and requires no break in period and little maintenance.  Those are the Brooks saddles I would love to get for the Surly LHT and the CAAD 8. 

Next, I would love to give a dynamo hub to my touring bike. Biologic Joule 3.  I have watched so many videos on winter riding and long distance touring and lighting is essential.
These dynamo hubs allow the rider to have a powerful set of head lights and tail lights mounted on the bike for good visibility; to see and to be seen.  Not to mention the ability to connect from cell phones and alt. charging devices to the hub to stay connected while to friends and family on cycling trips and overnights.

I love this idea because I want to ride more, into the evening and into the winter.  Both require lights to be seen and to see.  The Joule 3, or other quality hub will allow me that capability.  I need to reduce the running and increase the cycling to save my joints.

Following the dynamo hub, a good set of lights make a wonderful gift:  dynamo powered lights for the Surly and rechargeable lights for the CAAD 8. The Nite Rider Lumina 750 would be much appreciated and make my late year and evening riding safe.

I don't ask for much, but if I could ask for something for myself, I would kindly request some cycling casual clothes.  A nice pair of cycling jeans and a button down style shirt with wicking technology and well placed reflective material that can only be seen at night.  There are many manufacturers out there designing some good looking stuff, but Club Ride looks the best and is the most functional on and off the bicycle.
If you love riding your bike, but do not want to be "serious" and wear all the racing gear, than Club Ride is for you.  It allows you to wear clothes that are "everyday" looking in appearance yet designed for the casual and commuter cyclist.   The tops and bottoms are designed to move freely while paddling, not to allow a public view of a plumber's butt as you slightly bend to reach out for the handlebars of the bicycle.

When I go geo-caching or to the ice cream stand on my bike alone or with the kids, Club Ride clothes do not draw attention and scream, "Freak!"  All people notice is a guy and his kids riding up for a cool treat to end a summer's day. 

Get out there and ride.  Be safe on the streets and sit in comfort and style with an awesome saddle from Brooks while dressed to the nines in Club Ride designs that can be seen because your lights are being powered by a Joule 3 Dynamo Hub.  See you on the road.