A beautiful Sunday in Central Texas, 50’s, sunny, light to no wind. Great riding weather. A Dude likes that, so I suited up and headed out for another 25-mile ride.
Suiting up requires some steps. Picking the right amount of layers so you’re not too hot, not too cold. Checking your nutrition and hydration. And at the other end, taking care of your bathroom business.
Which brings up a sore subject: the saddle, or bike seat, can make things sore down there. What’s A Dude to do? Well, for a while I went with the bike shop recommendation, Chamois Butt’r. Butt lately I’ve been using baby Desitin ointment, which is basically like suncreen for your tuchus and netherly parts. A doctor recommended it, but I’m not sure he knew it was so thick (it’s mostly zinc oxide), that A Dude needs a Brillo pad to get it off his hands. Butt the good news is it seems to work.
You can read a hilarious review of DZNuts by Fatty at FatCyclist.com. I wrote him a while back, before I really started getting at the miles, and he generously replied, I forget about what. Now it appears he lost of ton of weight and does some serious racing. So maybe I’ll say hi and see if he replies, big-time blogger to newbie. I’ll report back if he does.
So you’ve got your clothes, food, toilet out of the way, what about the bike? Well, it’s good to lubricate the chain if you haven’t lately. Be sure to wipe off the excess oil. I’m sure reams have been written about that, but right now A Dude uses the misleadingly named Dry Lube. It does the job but requires more applications than others, I’m told. Of course check the tires, and for any obvious signs of problems like your seat is missing or something weird.
Now it’s time to head out. First, I power up the Strava app on my basic smart phone. And go. Because of the later hour, I head for the sun, I go west. By the University of Texas, past Lamar, and up and down and up we go. I could stop and look for a route, but having a pretty good general knowledge of Austin and some specific bike routes, I just go for it.
At one point in a well-off neighborhood on a street ironically named Robinhood, I ask for directions (OK, I had to several times). But in this case, I see a man out on a neighborhood jaunt with his young son on his bright orange bike, practicing his bunny hops (the father, that is), so I say “Hi, I’m “pleasantly lost, can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” Not really, Scenic Drive. And he tells me without any attitude. West Austin may have a reputation for being staunchly Republican, rich (yes, even A Dude can admire the beautiful homes), but to a one everyone was friendly or at least not rude: walkers, joggers, bicyclists and drivers, even the dogs. Not that I was expecting rudeness, but it does happen.
Well, my ride progresses up and down some decent hills, with great views of Town Lake, and I find myself on Mount Bonnell Road. I’m inching up it, getting out of the saddle at times, still feeling pretty sore from New Year’s ride and tumble. A woman is walking her dog but he’s more intent on smelling things. I wonder if she’ll beat me to the top. I keep grinding, even though I’m in my lowest (granny) gear, and make it to the base of the stairs. Hauling the bike with me, I reach the summit of this non-mountain, and I’m rewarded by the great views of downtown, Town Lake and the 360 bridge. Anyone worth their salt living in Austin has seen the movie Slacker, and knows the final scene is shot there.
Dog and woman make it up, and we chat a bit. Her name is Darla, and the dachshund/beagle mix is Thomas Jefferson. Despite being young and fit, she said she could never ride up that hill on her bike, and complemented me on my “strong work.” I demurred by saying I do what I can, but who doesn’t love a complement? The Future Mrs. A Dude unfortunately did not share her phone number, but that’s alright, she had mentioned that she lives south of the river, and that’s too far a commute.
But I digress (get used to it). I ran into some interesting characters, which is typical of Austin: a grouchy guy on an old bike who didn’t need help, was just checking his phone, who apologized since “now he had some grey hairs everyone was always asking if he was ok.” A guy walking barefoot. A couple with kids deciding not to climb the mountain even though everyone else was. A homeless guy bundled up and chatting while I’m at a light. A woman who gave me directions and I saw again later walking. Some guys on a trail. And so on. You never know who you’re going to see or meet on a bike, which is one of the sublimely wonderful things about getting out there on one. If you do, you know what I mean, if you don’t, you don’t know what you’re missing.
I continued to ride, finally reaching some flatter terrain, the trusty old Shoal Creek Boulevard, and stopped off at one of my favorite bike shops, Sun and Ski Sports. I know, it’s not in the name, but they do have a bike department. It turns out Mike the Mechanic used to work at The Peddler, my other main shop, and he’s been terrific. He wasn’t there today, so I said hi to the also awesome Chris, did a liquid exchange, and headed home. No flats, falls, wrecks or tickets, and I made my mileage goal (making 105 for the week), so it was a successful day. Again, you can check out my ride and stats on Strava, if you’d like.
Keep on reading, and I’ll keep on riding. And writing. Likes, dislikes, comments, questions, suggestions? Go ahead and type them in.