The Bell Ringers Academy

The Meeting room

Every November I begin volunteering at the local Salvation Army.  My job is to deliver the bell ringers to their designated spots.  Today was the first day with only a hand full of ringers on duty.  We will have many more stores after Thanksgiving and things will get kind of crazy around here.

Every morning they get the daily training speech usually about the dos and don’ts of bell ringing.  I leave after the speech  so they can say their prayers then it’s party time. I set the radio in the van to the Martha’s Vineyard station, turn up the volume, and we rock the van on the drive to the stations.  If you ever get the hankering to join us by listening on line.  I’m sure you will love the music.  Today it was Robbie Roberson’s cover of Bruce Hornsby that got us going.  Just click the play button at the top of the page.

Behind the scenes at the Salvation Army Bell Ringers Academy
The Bell stands standing tall.


Providence to Warren RI Bike Ride

I was very late for the group ride on the East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island. They began at 10, I arrived at 11.  I met a couple in the lot who were new to biking, and asked if they had ever ridden over the Washington Bridge.  It’s was only a quarter mile away and I assured them it was well worth the detour.   Naturally they loved it.  I stopped on the top of the bridge for the opening monologue of the following video.

On the return from Warren, RI I was able to hook up with the group ride.  One was returning to the bridge and I decided to ride back for the closing monologue.  Surprisingly he didn’t cross but instead road on what I though was a dead end service road.  Actually it was a shortcut to the Blackstone River Bikeway.  Another one of those secret places you only find out about when you ride with a local.   I’m going back during the week to give that new route a go.

PROVIDENCE TO WARREN R.I. from John Sullivan on Vimeo.

Going Secular

As I began my ride I passed by three ex churches, and decided to make the theme today. the closed churches locally. In the surrounding towns most of the churches, of all denominations, are rapidly closing their doors.  Some are in prime locations and are scheduled to be converted to secular uses.  Some are in impoverished areas and are wasting away.

There are very few church affiliated schools and other indoctrinating techniques left in many parts of the country.  The decline in church membership and religious affiliation has followed.   Around here, the churches that are left have very small memberships, who are for the most part, in their 70’s and 80’s.  The choice of nearly 5000 gods, makes everyone an atheist who doesn’t believe in the one true god that someone else believes. The younger generation has figured out that religion is not necessary to lead a good life and they realized that churches have become political and fundraising institutions, that more and more of the under 50 crowd want nothing to do with.

Years ago Sunday morning was an easy overtime day for the local police force who got extra duty directing traffic around the many churches in the area.  Now,  most of the churches have been relegated to gypsy status in small storefronts and run by some guy with a mail order minister title.

The best transition I have seen is outside of Washington DC in Brunswick, MD. called, Beans in the Belfry.

closed church 003
Sitting alone and rotting away


closed church 004
Abandoned but it may be converted into a restaurant


closed church 006
Just sitting empty for 5 years


closed church 008
Soon to be demolished and replaced by a convenience store.
closed church 010
Abandoned church for sale.
closed church madrassa
Church school scheduled for demoliton


closed church 002
Once a church, now a private home


Church being reconditioned into a homeless shelter


June Hates Me

It was getting late for a bike ride.  After 1 PM and I wanted to do the 30 mile loop.  But I really didn’t feel like it.  Standing in my garage, dressed for a ride, staring at three bikes.  I felt like one of those couples on the HGTV show House Hunters.  I eliminated the touring bike by hanging it up for the winter.  That left the road bike and the commuter.  I finally grabbed the Felt road bike, put on the roadie shoes and off I went.

I met a regular young walker on the MUP stopped to say hello for a few seconds and began to ride away.  He began to walk faster then jog to keep pace.

“Are you trying to keep up with me” I asked.

“As long as I can” was his response.

“Good luck with that” I quipped  as I quickly accelerated to 19 MPH on this flat stretch of blacktop.

During the first part of the ride I couldn’t shake the desire to take one of the many bail out option on this route.  Eventually I slipped into the riding zone and before I knew it passed the point of no return. Meaning there were no more side roads to shorten the route.

Because of the late start, I rode past one of the local high schools at dismissal time.  I was also riding west into the low sun.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that there were lines of high school drivers texting while also being blinded by the low sun behind me.  I found a place to get off the narrow country road to let the traffic settle down.

I sat in front of these two who were both born in the 1700’s as the high school traffic raced by.

The car traffic ended and the yellow buses began to make their way toward me from the school. I began riding thinking the school bus drivers would be a safe bet as they passed giving me plenty of room.  Think again big guy. The buses were traveling faster than the kids in cars and the 50 something male drivers had fire in their eyes as they passed. A couple very close I might add.  I again pulled off to the side to let the remaining buses go by.

From then on it was clear sailing to the country store.  It’s a stop I always make if for no other reason, because it’s there.  A woman inside asked if I was running when she saw my get up.  “Riding a bike” I said.  “Oh, that’s even colder”.   It was chilly, which is different from cold.  45 degrees chilly. I mentioned I only had 8 or 9 miles to go and then she asked how many I had done.  When I said around 20 her eyes bugged out.  I used to think 30 miles was a massive amount to ride a bike in one day.  Now, it’s a decent ride.

Near the end of the ride, I noticed a rider approaching.  As the rider got close I realized it was one of our group riders, whom I hadn’t seen in a while.  As we crossed paths I stopped and yelled “JUNE, howahyah”.  I got a soft hi John back as she rode toward the setting sun.  I think June hates me.

Just a couple of things to end this post.  The road that had collapsed because of the water passing under through the pipe way that was built of brick and stone sometime in the 40’s, is almost complete.  It looks like all that’s left is the blacktop.

Lastly.  If your ankle strap that keeps your pants from getting caught in you chain come off on a country road some day and you turn back to retrieve it.  Keep one thing in mind.  When you unclip you right shoe, make sure you lean to the right when the bike stops rolling.  Don’t lean left.   OK. Now turn up the volume and put on your dancing shoes.

The Weather is Cooperating Nicely

Busy New Bedford, Ma. harbor.

Again the weather was too nice not to ride. Again into the cite for a jaunt around the peninsular.  Some may notice an abundance of nautical themes to my postings.  When you live in a fishing village abutting the largest fishing fleet in  the country and have a Whaling National Park, nautical themes poke you in the eye, so to speak.


Stopped by the ATI lockout and spent some time on the picket line with the union brothers.  The United Steel Workers have been locked out for a couple of months, and it looks like management is coming to it’s senses and a settlement may happen soon. A bit later a fellow biker came by and we decided to ride around some of our favorite spots in the city.


Dredging the bay.










2015 Coffeeneuring Challenge Celebration Ride

The 2015 Coffeeneuring Challenge is in the books. Thanks to Mary at Chaising Mailboxes for organizing the challenge for the fifth year.  Thank you also to all the new friends we have made because of our love of coffee and bike riding.  See yas around.

ONE LAST COFFEE RIDE from John Sullivan on Vimeo.