Friday, June 15, 2012



(Warning! Shameful self-promoting plea ahead!) Yes, it is true. I need your help. You see my riding time has been down significantly over the past few weeks. I can tell this without looking at my fabulously detailed Excel spreadsheet in which I gather data on virtually every ride I take. I can tell my riding time is down each morning when I go to pull on my pants – one leg at a time. I can tell my riding time is down when I try to suck in the gut enough to get that middle button through the button hole and wander around the house just long enough (defined as approximately 5 minutes) to realize the cotton is NOT going to stretch enough for these pants to be comfortable for 8 hours. I can tell my riding time is down when I’m sitting at my computer looking at the weather map when the weekly group ride is starting somewhere else! So, yes, I need your help. How can you help, you say? Well, read on…

BUY MY HOUSE! Yep, it is that simple. Simply decide that now is the time to move to beautiful Western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoy your morning cup of coffee as the sun rises over Mt. Pisgah. While sitting on your full deck, enjoy the beauty of Cold Mountain, the mountain made famous by Charles Frazier in his book of the same name later made into the movie of the same name and starring actors of different names!


(Looking down the front deck toward Lake Logan)

Maybe it is time that you enjoyed the late afternoon under the trellis on the backside of the house on the full deck while entertaining friends and enjoying the multitude of birds coming to the feeders for their nightly meal.


(Great place for cool evening entertainment of friends/guests!)

Heck, maybe for alternative FREE** entertainment, you swap the schedule around and enjoy a full harvest moon rise over Sugar Top and see the Pigeon Valley alight in moon glow.

Maybe, just maybe, you need quick local access to some great riding including the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. Worried that this is out in the boonies? Not at all, the Navigator and I are only 8 short minutes (by car – not bike) from beautiful downtown Waynesville, NC. Need good electronic access? You got it! I’m sitting on a fine Charter Cable internet connection with what has been excellent uptime for years.


(Open kitchen with lots of storage!)

Big family, little family? It doesn’t matter. Our home is 1800’ of finished space with vaulted ceilings in the kitchen and open living room, 600’ of finished space on the top floor with a master bedroom, bath, and a sitting area great for those lazy Sunday afternoon reading times. Heating the home is done with multiple options although we have found over the past 17 years that our Monitor does just fine to heat the main and upper levels. Electric baseboard is present but has never been used by us. In the partially finished downstairs with its own half bath, we enjoy big screen TV and time with our dogs as they are not allowed upstairs.


(Enjoy that morning coffee as you look out over the mountains!)









(Great space for those family meals!)

By now, you are probably saying, “What’s this got to do with Zeke’s riding time?” Well, the long and the short of it is that the Navigator and I purchased her family home following her father’s death this past New Year’s morning. We can’t afford two homes so we want to sell this one. We are motivated to sell but not motivated to take a bath… financially that is! In trying to get ready for sale of one home and remodeling another home, I’ve not had time to ride when sandwiched in between the paying job, bicycle related speaking engagements, and other projects. So, if SOMEONE will buy my existing home, I can ride again! Seems simple enough to me…Want more details? Send me an email at gr8smokieszekeATgmailDOTcom. 

(You know the drill, replace the AT and DOT with appropriate symbols to throw off those nasty bots mining the internet to send me spam!)


I’ve been waiting for it. I knew it was coming sooner or later. I just wasn’t sure what form it would arrive in. Turns out it was a late night email from a horrified private development home owner. Thus far, our development and implementation of the Haywood County Comprehensive Bike Plan has gone so smoothly it has been almost too good to be true. There were only two objections (one in a letter to the editor and one at the Board of County Commissioners meeting) to the development of the plan. The letter to the editor was based upon common but faulty misinformation about the rights of cyclists to use the road and the second was, well, never really understood but it had something to do with a horse trail to town.

This recent one though was the result of a home owner taking some partial information and creating a neighborhood environment in which a concept of a multi-modal trail was rejected without any consideration of both the benefits and costs of the idea. The process or lack thereof created some, hopefully temporary, ill feelings. I attended the affected Town Board meeting this week and attempted to ameliorate the ill feelings of the residents and assured them that any further discussion of the concept would only occur if they instigated it. (This was a privately owned parcel of land and not subject to public access.)

The situation, as it unfolded, helped me to (re)learn the significant intricacies of working with the preconceived notions and ideas of individuals and groups. So many people see these processes as linear. By that I mean that you start a point A move sequentially through points B, C, and D to end up at point E. My experience has always been that these processes are circular instead. You can enter a circle at any point and begin working through the process, resolving ideas/issues, and eventually have a deliverable product.

In this case, the successful project of developing a multi-modal trail involved numerous partners including both public and private entities. Without any one partner, none of this would be resolved successfully. This clearly turned out to be the case this time. Without the full partnership of the development owners, the concept had nowhere to go.

One resident, who attended the Town Board meeting, asked a very valid question: “Why am I only learning of this now?” My only reply was that there had been nothing to bring to them to this point but, we would have been approaching them in the near future with something had the situation not already been scuttled. Had any of the other entities in the circle stopped the concept from discussion, there would have been nothing to discuss with the overall development owners. (Note: in reality, there were at least 4 residents of the development who were aware of the concept from the early days and we had received either very positive or neutral responses from them.)

So, it was a good learning experience and hopefully not one that will have any lasting negativity toward the development of cycling infrastructure. In fact, all of the speakers opposed to the plan were in favor of cycling opportunities within the local community as long as those opportunities weren’t in their private neighborhood. In the end, that’s o.k. because they own the land and have the right to determine how it is used. We’re now off to alternative ideas on public land!


Please BUY MY HOUSE! (Thanks for reading this far!)

Until later,

- Zeke


** FREE – well it isn’t totally free since you have to buy the house to get the view…

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