Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last year my car broke down and my life changed for the better.

"The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes."
-Kingdom Hearts

     I live on the outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida. It's one of the largest cities in terms of land mass, we are so spread out here that the majority of us ride our motor vehicles everywhere we go. A year ago I was guilty of this myself, then one day my truck broke down and my life changed forever, believe it or not it was for the better. From that point on I have almost solely relied on bicycle for my form of transportation, it has pushed my life in a direction that has been so very positive. I never thought that I would find a stronger purpose in life through a moment of strife. I was down in the dirt and at rock bottom but I guess all flowers bloom from such sources.

 There is more to the story than me just losing my vehicle, prior to this event I was a very lost person, alcoholism in full effect and partying with no direction. I have a very addictive personality and I always pour my whole heart into everything, unfortunately this enthusiasm of mine knows no black and white spectrum. I was pouring a lot of my heart into each empty bottle of cheap liquor and six pack that I had moments earlier consumed. I did enjoy the cycling scene and I was a coordinator for all of our weekly Wednesday rides in town but that was not enough positive influx to counter the negative things I was doing to my body/life. I was living a life where I was trying to show everyone my love for cycling but I was not taking care of my own health. For a very long time I was lost and wandering.

     After I lost my vehicle I gathered myself together and thought of how I could get out of this mess that I was in. I looked at the things in my life that I still had. The cycling group that I rode bicycles with "Dirty Cycle Works - Bike Club", my cycling promotion/marketing company "Ghost in the Spoke" and my day job at Grassroots Natural Market II in Fleming Island ( an organic food/supplement store ) seemed to be the only things in my life that kept me afloat. I decided to focus with those portions of my life and get on my bicycle full time. In Florida our weather is decent enough that through all seasons we are able to ride comfortably, it was something that I already enjoyed so I made the best of the situation. Cycling has taught me that
when you lose momentum the weight of the world is more prevalent, I didn't want anything else to crush me any further.

      All of a sudden, like cog and lockring, my life started to hold together and I found myself moving forward with purpose. I worked hard every day and I noticed that all of the pain that I was feeling with everything was significantly lessened by my 6-7 mile commute to my day job.

     Cycling taught me positive projection, I took everything that I hated about life and focused it all into my pedals. I could take all of the weight of the world on my body and throw it back onto my bike, all of that anger was pushing me forward. I was beginning to feel joy through something that was strife. My life was progressively changing for the better, I was beginning to see things differently. I was starting to appreciate things that I had not noticed before, the different scents in the air, the sun shower on a hot day and the warm coffee when I got to my day job after riding in the winter rain.. The stimuli from the weather was when I first started to take notice to my body.

      But most of all, cycling was the best thing for my mind. I was a very confused and mildly unstable person on the inside, I guess you could call it anxiety or maybe it was getting used to living without booze. I noticed that if let myself explode on my bike and sprint to work as hard as a possibly could I would feel more balanced and in tune with myself. All of the cycling has been a positive outlet for all of the negativity that was going on in my head. I could deal with it all right there on the road. I could scream, shout and push as hard as I wanted and nothing could hold me back. With cycling you are completely free to go as fast or slow as you want. It is important to find something in life that makes you feel free. It's these moments of release that remove all of your negative thoughts and free up space for positive ideas in your mind. If you pedal through the hills and bumps in the road eventually somewhere down the line you will find a silky smooth street with steady decline.
      I took my vehicle breaking down as a sign from the world telling me that I need to be on my bike. Since that moment I have taken my cycling promotional/marketing business to a more extreme role in my life.Before then it was just a hobby/adventure diary but as soon as a put everything I had left into focus my life changed forever.

      Other cyclists and companies started noticing my photography. I was slowly learning how to do everything from trial and error. It has been a long road to learn everything from scratch.
I was off to a great start from where I was but there was so much more to learn.


   Everyday that I pedaled away was a moment where I was slowly getting better at my jobs, website and life. The world was starting to look much brighter and I was starting to feel good about the things that I was doing. I currently am growing more and more each day.

     It has been quite an adventure this year to say the least but I have finally grown into a person that has hopes and dreams. I didn't have that before my loss of a vehicle and I no longer need strife to push forward. I have finally found positive goals in my life and I am putting my entire heart into my cycling projects. This past year was very necessary for me to see everything as I do now. I now have a cult following of over 4000 cyclists/friends and 17 companies that I work with on my site. I hope to continue till I have pushed myself to max cadence with everything.

     I might sound crazy but my brain has started to work in many different ways after my changes in life, it's funny that riding a bicycle to work could change so much of myself. I have started to think of innovation in the things that I enjoy, slowly I have been bringing them to life. Eventually I want to incorporate my ideas into my site and make a full blown career out of it. 

      I have a cycling tool that I plan on making this summer. I cannot release information on the project because it is going to be a game changer in the cycling world and possibly further. I'm just squirreling away money to fund it at the moment. This tool will hopefully make enough funds to support my ultimate goal with everything that is happening in my life.

What is my ultimate goal?
      If cycling has done so much for me in my life then maybe it can do the same for other people in their lives, within the next year or so I would like to start a cycling/travelers hostel here in Florida. I want to provide a cheap or free (they could help the hostel in replacement for money) place for people to stay for a day or so on their travels. Hopefully I'll get a chance to hear/write about their stories on . I hope to bring in many cyclists but I will open it up to all travelers. This is a long way down the road but I am currently working my way to my goal. I eventually want to make a complete living out of helping our world on bicycles. It's a dream but one day with hard work I will have it. I'm currently a home town hero and I figured I should keep up with the momentum that I have been so very blessed with. I hope to have a collective of brands that I can one day represent during this entire process.

 The concept for the hostel that I am looking at :
     This fully furnished/livable 40ft SHIPPING CONTAINER unit is what I am trying to save my money for. It's a great starter for me and eventually I could even stack on a couple of units on top of it later down the line. I want to make it earth friendly, sustainable and bombproof. This will serve as a proper headquarters for Ghost in the Spoke and a place for cyclists/travelers to stay at any given notice. I want it to be located in Greencove, Florida as it is a halfway point from Jacksonville to St.Augustine. The bike ride to and from each point is absolutely gorgeous and forms a full century (100 miles). The hostel being in the middle would serve as a good stopping point. It would be far enough for beginner and advanced cyclists to rest.   

I am also looking into some bike lockers for the hostel:
Reliance Foundry’s recycled plastic bike lockers in front of a building on a college campus.
These lockers from seem to fit the bill. I think that I would start with two of them placed lengthwise back to back to form a small parallelogram against the hostel outer wall. Or I could use them on the inside in the same shape to double as a table. These lockers would also work well at my day job if placed in the same fashion. They would serve as a place for me to store spare bikes for our cycling group. (We meet at my day job on Wednesday nights.)

A proper foundation and some land that has electric and plumbing capabilities and I will be good to go. A couple of solar panels would help too. Wish me luck!!!!

     I never would have had any of these ideas in my mind if my vehicle didn't break down and force me to bike to work/almost everywhere that I go. Now cycling is a second job for me and I work when I bike. It's kind of funny how that worked out. I just wanted to take this time to let every person and company that put faith in me know that your efforts were not fruitless. You have changed my mentality for the rest of my life and I am so very grateful that all of you put in your efforts. I promise to continue to serve all of you to full extent of my abilities. 

     I turn 26 in June, it may have taken a longer time for me to finally find my path but I am finally here and ready to ride bicycles upon it. I would have never found my way without the help of all of you.
A huge thank you to all of you:

My family.
My girlfriend Mandi, she helps me so much with Ghost in the Spoke, all behind the scenes and without asking anything in return.
All of the friends.
The followers that support my site.
-All of the companies that have put faith in me and brought substance to my site-

I never thought that riding a bicycle to work would open up the rest of the world for me.
2525 Ambrosia Dr

Middleburg FL 32068

If you would like to donate to my cycling projects you can here!

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