Bike the bridge

Why do we bike more in the middle of the hottest months of the year? There are probably all sorts of dumb reasons ("Hey! The Tour de France is on! I think I'll ride too!"), but here's one good one: If you're going to get some outdoor aerobic exercise, riding a bike sure feels a lot less oppressive than jogging or power-walking in the Lowcountry soup of heat and humidity. If you haven't done it in a while, take your bike over the Ravenel Bridge and see how you do. The Charleston side is longer, the Mount Pleasant side is steeper, but the breeze blows the whole way and the view is spectacular.

Dog Days

The term comes from the relative position of Sirius, the Dog Star, in the ancient morning sky, but good luck trying to make sense of those origins now. Today, the phrase "Dog Days of Summer" (traditionally July 3 to Aug. 11) simply refers to the hottest, most stifling period of the year, and brothers and sisters, we are smack in it. Make the most of them by resolving to do as little as possible. It's our Lowcountry heritage, you know.

Take in a show

Already sick of bad summer blockbusters? Ditch the megaplex and get your live theater performance fix with two local theater companies that are still out there doing good work in the midst of the Dog Days. Pure Theatre has mounted a new staging of the one-man-show "Under The Lintel" at Circular Church (150 Meeting St.), with shows tonight, Saturday and Sunday ($25,, 723-4444). Travel a few blocks north (280 Meeting St.) and you can catch the always entertaining Improv Comedy Jam by Charleston's The Have Nots! It's Friday and Saturday nights at 8 ($12.50,, 853-6687), around back and above The Bicycle Shoppe.

Show up the Timbers Army

Our USL First Division league-leading Charleston Battery takes on the Portland Timbers Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium (Daniel Island, 7:30 p.m., $8-$15). While that's reason enough to go, consider the fact that the Timbers enjoy the support of one of the most active, enthusiastic fan groups in all of American sport: The Timbers Army. Members of the Army dress in team colors, revel loudly in their obscure traditions and travel with the squad whenever possible. Will any make the cross-country trip? More importantly, can Charleston fans risk the chance of being shown up by supporters of a West Coast team?

Take stock

Here's an exercise that's worth trying: Sit down with pencil and paper, and start making a list of things you've accomplished or experienced. The things don't have to be big, they just need to be meaningful to you. Can you think of 50? A hundred? Good. Now look back over your list, note your reactions, and then start a new one: Things you still want to accomplish or experience. Is it longer or shorter than the first one you made? It's an awfully big world out there, and it helps to have some idea where you've been and where you're going.