Howdy from the frozen north, Traipsers!

I spent awhile in Idaho recently helping to build a mother-in-law unit on my parents' property. The fun included putting up siding, digging sewer lines with a excavator (yesss), and running electrical.

Satisfying work, even if muddy trench parkour isn't as fun as mountain biking. Good to mix it up and see the tangible results of hard labor though! I always appreciate a chance to build useful stuff. My piano skills will recover eventually...


This Week's Newsletter:

A new blog post about ebikes, standing up for leadership, some tunes for cold evenings, and a podcast to whet our appetites for wild places.

if you're avoiding gyms and want to set one up at home, check out my GarageFit blog post from last week.

Serious power tools: The only kind of video game I like to play
My Case For Ebikes

EBIKES. Some people love them, while others beseech the pope to label them the 8th deadly sin.

I'm a cycling enthusiast (some might slight addict) and don’t personally ride an ebike. However, many people around me do, and I think ebike maligners miss the potential of electric bicycles.

There’s a place for them, as well as justifiable restrictions. The aim of this post is to add to the developing discussion about their use.

First, three prime uses where ebikes shine...

Read the full post here.

Girl in the Mirror (and The Lincoln Project)

I dug the excellent book Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which contrasts four different well-regarded Presidents (Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and LBJ). My biggest takeaway: they all surrounded themselves with people who questioned their viewpoints. More importantly, they listened to those people!

Similarly, The Lincoln Project - led by Republicans who think the GOP has lost its way -  continues to impress me by setting politics aside and asking more of leadership. (They also create brilliant work like Girl in the Mirror.) No matter which side of the aisle people fall on, asking for real leadership that can handle tough questions remains essential.

My dad zipping along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene on his Rad Rover ebike.
Talking Timbuktu

My hazy memories of the music my parents played during my formative years includes Birds of the Amazon and other eclectic pieces. My recent trip home reinforced that, and also opened my ears to the full scope of their music knowledge. Here's two albums to check out!

Talking Timbuktu by Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder

What happens when a guy from Timbuktu who speaks 11 languages and a famous blues musician walk into a recording studio together? This kickass album!

The Best of Bill Evans by Bill Evans
Jazz pianist Bill Evans influenced a huge swath of his contemporaries starting in the 1950s, along with many later musicians. My mom's favorite track is Peace Piece. I love what he does with the dissonance and repeating notes.

Chasing the Flow with Peter Heller


Gotta love a podcast with an adventurer/novelist who can spin a yarn! This Mountain and Prairie interview with Peter Heller is funny and insightful, especially for anyone who enjoys writing and/or thinks the West is fabulous.

The "best advice I ever received" at 1:05:45 is excellent. I also loved Peter's booming, infectious laugh! (If you need a winter-is-here post-apocalyptic novel, check out Dog Stars.)

That's it for this edition. Forward it to a friend, crank up the fireplace to stay warm, and I'll catch you next week!
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