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My Next Project

Old 03-09-19, 09:53 PM
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jyl
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My Next Project


Hi, long time. I've not been riding at all, unlike you nutters touring the Willamette Valley in the cold. I haven't been working on bikes either, because my garage is full of espresso machines.

But I got my next project today. It's nothing special but it is special.

This bike belongs to my friend Rod. He bought it in '72 or so, if his memory hasn't failed, which it may be doing - might have been in the '80s instead. He was living in Walnut Creek which is in the SF Bay Area. He was a spindly artist, but started riding the bike, and the more he rode the stronger he got. He rode it daily up Mount Diablo, started lifting, and got really strong. He met his wife, my friend Lisa, who was working at UCSF Medical Center. She was caring for the first wave of AIDS patients as they died. She cared for her brother as he died of AIDS. They married. Rod worked as an artist. He was the official artist for the Steinhart Aquarium and painted all manner of marine life.
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Old 03-09-19, 09:59 PM
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Rod and Lisa moved to Portland. He was in his seventies when I met them. Strong, wiry, he worked as a gardener, painted - fish mostly - and was always going fishing in the mountains. He invited me many times, I never managed to go but we talked about fish a lot. Almost always about fish. Rod had lost part of his mouth and tongue to cancer in San Francisco, so he was hard to understand, and he was a little bit on the spectrum as some artists are.


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Old 03-09-19, 10:06 PM
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Rod's cancer returned this year. My wife has been helping Lisa take care of him. He was trying to finish his last painting but it won't happen. He's spindly again, less than 100 lb. Lisa says he looks like the AIDS patients she cared for in the '80's. Looks like her brother.

I went to see him today. He has a day, or a few days, left. There are signs when death is near. Circulation gradually shuts down, extremities grow blotchy, hands are cold. Hospice is helping and he's on oxycodone and morphine all the time.

Rod gave me his bicycle. I brought it up from the basement to his room. He looked at it and told me about riding it up Mt Diablo. I told him I'll ride it up Mt Diablo too. And I will.
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Old 03-09-19, 10:29 PM
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Death is the most personal thing of a life time, it stops and leaves all the rest of us behind, yet in out living that life's connections continue.

His hands touched this bike in pain, triumph and in all the shades of his humanity, that is still there for you.

Make it safe, refresh what needs to be, sort out fitment and then clean, waxed, ride.

And on a day when he would, climb Mt. Diablo with your friend.

Take Care.
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Old 03-09-19, 10:39 PM
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Sorry to hear about your friend.

I know you'll honor him well with the bike including that climb up Diablo. Thank you for sharing
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Old 03-09-19, 11:12 PM
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Thank you for this post.
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Old 03-09-19, 11:23 PM
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Rod is a wonderful artist, I'd love a piece for my home. And to go for a ride. Life is precious, thanks for sharing a bit of what he's created.
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Old 03-09-19, 11:42 PM
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As an artist and (now) designer, these are beautiful paintings. Wonderful textures and creation of depth.
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Old 03-09-19, 11:59 PM
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Yeah, his work is complex, often technical, minutely detailed, colorful, sometimes psychedelic.

I'll probably get a piece to hang in my house. A trout most likely.
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Old 03-10-19, 12:46 AM
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I’m very glad I read your thread. I find Rod’s work and your sentimental words to be inspiring. Enjoy the ride up that mountain. What a beautiful ride that will be!
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Old 03-10-19, 01:34 AM
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Fantastic.
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Old 03-10-19, 08:29 AM
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Sorry to hear of the imminent loss of your friend.
I can relate to you wanting to honor your friend by caring for, and riding his bike.
I was given two bikes last year by a friend who was near death. He had given most of his bikes to family members, but he wanted me to have his two favorites because he knew they would be well cared for.
My friend passed away in January, and while the bikes he gave me are a bit on the small side, they will have a special placed in my stable, and I will ride in his memory.
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Old 03-10-19, 09:58 AM
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Hope your friend passes as comfortably as possible. Two of the most meaningful people in my life have passed and I have the bike one rode and the bike the other built for me. They're permanently part of my journey and bring back a flood of good memories when I spend time on them.
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Old 03-10-19, 01:35 PM
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I wish his Wife comfort too. She is still going to be around and living those flashback memories of her Brother, and now her Spouse. That’s a lot of pain.
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Old 03-10-19, 03:33 PM
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Thanks. She will have a lot of adjusting to do as well. Finances are very limited and she'll lose not just a spouse but an income. She'll have to clear out his art studio and try to sell some of his paintings, to rent it out, then get used to living with a roommate. Which could end up good, as living alone will be tough too.

My wife has helped a lot of people through their final months, weeks, days. Including her parents and another of our close friends. What I've observed is that people are strong in those times. With care and support, they die with more grace and peace than I'd have thought possible.

After, the survivors' own battle begins. With loneliness, finances, sometimes alcohol. It doesn't end with the death. But in most of the times I've seen, it eventually ends well. People adjust and recover, the good memories take over, life becomes happy again. Most people are pretty tough. Especially the older people I know.


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Old 03-10-19, 04:58 PM
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Thanks for this. I serve the elderly a lot and it hurts when they leave.
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Old 03-10-19, 06:06 PM
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Lovely art and the bike looks 70's with maybe an upgrade or two.
Thank you for this story. Enjoy the rides!
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Old 03-11-19, 11:03 AM
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Thank you for writing this, @jyl. It's bittersweet, as so much of life is.
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Old 03-11-19, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Thank you for writing this, @jyl. It's bittersweet, as so much of life is.
thanks, a bicycle as a way to remember. how many of us will be partially remembered through our machines. however i believe life continues in a better place by grace. perhaps the riding will never really end.
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Old 03-18-19, 03:24 AM
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Condolences for you and your friend and his family, I know how difficult it is to care for those at the end of life. Perhaps you'd organize a memorial ride in his name, maybe consider donations for his hospice. Suggest contacting DiabloScott as another Mt. Diablo rider.
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Old 03-18-19, 07:35 AM
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Mount Diablo is a popular place to scatter ashes, do memorial rides, and just contemplate life following a loss. There are several commemorative park benches that are also a nice tribute.

I can certainly help @jyl with logistics and planning. I'll see if I can arrange a rainbow too.



Last edited by DiabloScott; 03-18-19 at 08:02 AM.
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