Archive for November, 2015

A Gift to be Simple

| November 25, 2015 1:13 pm

“Simple Gifts”, a Shaker song by Joseph Brackett celebrates a sentiment that is as applicable today as when it was written in 1848.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

A Gift To Be Simple
The gift to be simple is a perfect description of cycling because a great ride can be had on any bicycle, even on a second-hand one from Good Karma, a Turning Wheels for Kids bicycle to an under-privileged child, or on a world tour owning nothing more than what a bicycle can carry (Jerry Schonewille and many others).

A Simple Gift
A gift is better given than to have it received. ACTC has incredibly caring and compassionate members and we need to be generous to the less-fortunate, especially children. Turning Wheels for Kids and the San Jose Rotary Playgarden for handicap children are both worthy causes.

A simple gift of a bicycle can change life and free children from childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes. In some cases, a bicycle may be their only way to go to school.

The unique Rotary Playgarden ( promotes equal play for children of all abilities and is located by the Guadalupe River Trail. An uplifting speech by Lily Guggenheim, a teenager, at the Playgarden Grand Opening is a must see (starts with Mayor Sam):

My three favorite versions of Simple Gifts are:
Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss
The Piano Guys, Live at Red Butte Garden
Judy Collins

Tony Le, ACTC President

Wish I am in Paris

| November 19, 2015 5:45 pm

Je suis Français, je n’ai pas peur — I am French and I am not afraid.

It is maddening to read people cancelling their trips to Paris because of fear of more terrorist attacks. Terrorists try to sow fears with their random attacks. If we are cowing to these threats, they will have won.

Love is stronger than hate — the majority of us are not afraid and in fact are more resolved to stand-up and be strong. The day after the attack, a musician, Davide Martello, drove from Berlin, pulled his portable piano by bicycle to the crime scene, and then played John Lennon’s Imagine. Davide is not afraid.

Rick Steves of PBS wrote:
“As for how to respond to terrorism, I believe we owe it to the victims of this act not to let the terrorists succeed in terrorizing us. Sure, it’s natural for our emotions to get the best of us, especially given the drumbeat of sensational media coverage. But to me, responding appropriately to terrorism means responding intelligently and rationally.

Remember: There’s an important difference between fear and risk. We must not let our fear cloud our ability to assess risk. I’m sure that many Americans will cancel their trips to Paris (a city of 2 million people) or the rest of Europe (a continent of 500 million people), because of an event that killed about 130. The terrorists are happy when we ignore the math (and the tiny odds of actual danger), and let our decisions be driven by fear. Well, I’m not in a mood to make them happy… It remains my firmly held belief that one of the best ways for Americans to fight terrorism is to keep on traveling.”

Wish I am in Paris,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Taking the Long Way Home

| November 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Timeless travel books encouraged us to take a journey and to find our way.

“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes”, wrote Antoine St-Exupéry in his children’s book “Le Petit Prince”.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, wrote Mark Twain in “The Innocents Abroad”. Other of Twain’s classic American novels are Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and many more.

John Steinbeck, known for the Grapes of Wrath, authored books with local flavor in Tortilla Flat, East of Eden, and Cannery Row. Doc Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Laboratories still exists and can be visited on special occasion.

More recent authors penned excellent travel books as well: Tom Vernon’s “Fat Man in France”; Karin Muller’s “Hitchhiking Guide Vietnam”; Andrew Pham’s “Catfish and Mandala”; Peter Hessler’s “River town” and “Oracle Bones”, and Barbara Savage’s “Miles from Nowhere”. Although many travel books are not cycling books, however, the theme is just as relevant, encouraging us to follow our heart, to search our soul, to seek the unknowns, and to discover new exciting things.

On our recent Big Sur Tour led by Brian Chun, nearly half our group took a wrong turn and went on Sweetwater to the Pinnacles instead of Carmel Valley. Guy Neenan apologized profusely to the entire group but no one was upset because ACTC members are what these travel books described — we enjoy taking the long way home.

Tony Le, ACTC President


| 9:35 pm

Pause to reflect where we have been, proud of our history and accomplishments, and to renew our energy.

Exhale and breathe deeply in stressful situations to restore balance and to facilitate the ability to respond skillfully rather than to react or repress.

Attend and enjoy the present and be mindfully aware of sensations from each of the senses.

Connect compassionately to what is happening personally, friends, family, and as a community member.

Express oneself in authentic, creative, and compassionate ways, including art, science, friendship, community service, volunteering, and cycling.

Adapted from the Stanford Health Improvement Program.

Tony Le, ACTC President