Picture This: 10 Photos From My 103-Mile Week Biking

One of the pleasures of being a car-free bicyclist in a bustling city like Austin is that there is never a shortage of cool things to photograph. When you’re stuck in a car, you can’t just pull over and take pictures. But see something interesting while cycling, pull over safely, and bam! You’re rewarded with plenty of images as you like. This is one of those posts where the words can’t paint the whole picture.

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12 Bicycle-Related Groups in Austin, Texas You Should Know About

On this Martin Luther King Day, I’m still thinking about the death of an African-American cyclist, Merry “Cookie” Daye. She was killed in the bike lane in a hit and run in December. On the 50th anniversary of MLK’s death, I wrote a blog about him (MLK On a Bike, The Struggle for Justice, and My First Bicycle Consulting Client). Transportation justice is a real thing, since we cyclists are treated like second-class citizens. In Cookie’s case, the authorities have still not found the murderer.

I’ve been thinking about the fact that there appears to be little coordination among the various non-profit bike groups here in Austin, Texas. The group of advocates seems like a small community; the things I get to tend to have the same few advocates. And many do different things. But as a first step to possibly bringing them together in a coalition, I thought I would list the ones I know.

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Silent Ride of Remembrance for Merry “Cookie” Daye: ¡Presente!

The rain stopped, clouds parted, and the sun came out on a winter Saturday in Austin. Fifty or so bicyclists gathered underneath the Browning Hangar, the first of its kind, a now refurbished WWII era structure built with wooden trusses. A sense of history was fitting for the somber purpose: to celebrate the life and commemorate the death of Merry “Cookie” Katheryn Daye. She was the fourth Austin Cyclist to die in 2019 in a crash, in this case a hit-and-run with a truck. We rode slowly and quietly to the crash site and had a gathering, and then returned. It was a fitting event.

The tragedy still hurts for the family members and strangers alike who didn’t know her but felt the pain and loss, even indirectly. This gathering was a step toward healing, community and preventing further senseless deaths. Perhaps, some justice will come out of this. That is why I initiated the idea for this ride and facilitated conversations to make sure it happened. At the end of the day, while the ride was a success due to no incidents and some media coverage, Cookie is gone. And that is just wrong, and it hurts. But her memory lives on.

[POST IN PROGRESS, MORE PHOTOS LATER]

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Tidbits from the Life of a Cyclist in Austin

I got a flat tire last night, but not just any flat tire. The tube exploded with a loud BANG! and so did the tire. The thing is, I was at a well-known high-crime drug corner, and for a second I thought someone was shooting at me with a gun. Then I realized the air was gone from my rear tire and my pedaling was over for the night. The guys hanging out at the convenience store parking lot knew it wasn’t a gunshot, though. There was a police officer parked in the lot, and a bus came along pretty quickly. Even more fortunate was that I was near the house of a member of the North East Austin Texas Bike Group, and her husband kindly took me home in their mini-van. Thanks, Thomas! It’s good to know people.

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Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down: Onward Through the Fog

Austin awoke to a soggy, gray blanket of fog that only horror writers and car insurance agents love. I awoke with fog as well, but in my brain. Just as well that I have no job to be up for at the butt crack of dawn. There was also a ray of light: a note on my blog from a Seattle author I mentioned the other day, Paulette Perhach. An authot writing to A Dude is big deal, y’all! Later in the day, I got connected with another Seattle writer, Carol Tice, a ghostwriter who does coaching. Eventually, I got my cobweb-addled brain and body out for my walk and a bike ride… into the rain and mist I went.

Downtown on an errand, I ducked into a Starbucks (a tiny coffee company based in Seattle you may have heard about) for a tinkle and to use their free wi-fi. I used to live in Seattle. After a few years of suffering through miserable winter days like today, escaping often to the YMCA for what I dubbed a “shake n’ bake” — sauna, steam room, hot tub — I was chased out of town by the constant state of darkness and moisture. The Starbucks gestapo was also to blame since they rightly claimed I didn’t buy any coffee. All that’s to say that rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Except you can’t keep a good dude down for long.

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What’s It Like to Bike 90 Days in a Row for a Total of 1,985 Miles?

My recent year-end recap, 5,633 Miles in 2019: 5,006 Biking, 627 Walking — My Longest Year Yet!, did not completely capture the immense efforts I put out to reach that biking goal. I don’t say that to brag; it’s just the fact. I began back on October 11th and up to January 8th, I rode for three months, biking every single day. I pedaled on average 22 miles per day. I can assure that is a lot of work, but if I can do it, it’s doable for many people. (For confirmation, check out my Training Log on Strava.) For more numbers and what they mean, do keep on keepin’ on. That’s what I did, and you can, too.

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Possible Blog Topics for Today Include the Following

Scenes from a day in the life of A Dude. Although it was not today, last night was not that long ago, so I’m including it. I went to One Page Salon and got to chat again with the affable host Owen Egerton and other phenomenal writers like Felix Morgan. She happens to be friends with a cyclist I once photographed for taking her bike in to the HEB grocery store. Jess recognized me and gave me two big hugs for some reason. Maybe I’ll hear from her, though I’m not holding my breath.

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