The Daily Grind (Bike Commuting Blues) & Hill Country Ride for AIDS

February 14, 2016 – Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Dude Abikes has not blogged for a while, but he’s back with a vengeance. He succumbed to Austin’s annual “Cedar Fever,” in which Hill Country juniper trees poison the Austin area air with a horrible cloud of yellow pollen which comes out of the body as green mucous. It envelopes the city and pollutes the lungs of its denizens like a big huge smelly fart that brings tears to the eyes and lingers — for three months. In addition, A Dude had to move due to rising rents without a similar increase in the filthy lucre from his daily labors. He’s looking for a new crib after his temporary place kicks him to the curb. So, he’s busy.  To make up for it he’s including alot of photos from recent rides.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy them.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding; of course I have. (Yes, I know I’m changing from 3rd to 1st person; A Dude likes the shifting perspective. So get on board with it already.) Aside from saving money, one of the benefits of my new abode is that it requires a 5-mile commute each way, every day. Thus, the daily grind title. Grinding in cycling means to struggle on the pedals using the outer cogs of the chain rings that transfers the power from one’s legs to power the bike. The answer is to shift up to an easier gear to save the legs. The smallest chain, often referred to as the “granny gear” is derided by serious riders, but A Dude enjoys 27-gears on his Fuji Silhouette, and he uses the GG as often as he pleases with no regard for the taunts of the pros.  A Dude loved both his grandmothers and that takes a much tougher guy than most of those skinny dudes in Spandex to own that.

Grinding Hard for You

Although my sick week was weak – only 20 or so miles — and I managed 80 the week before due to packing and the move, I’m out there putting in 100-mile weeks again, of course with my adoring reading public in mind, all several of you! But 80 miles every week will make this a 4,000-mile year. Here’s a screen capture of my latest Strava training log stats if you don’t believe me and haven’t followed the links from previous posts:

Strava stats 021416

I use the word grind for fun but also because I happen to find Rob Lowe’s television show The Grinder hilarious. He’s an actor who played a lawyer on a show-within-a-show called by the eponymous name, which just means someone who works very hard. His show ends and he moves in with his brother, played by Fred Savage, who’s a real lawyer. So the fake lawyer tries to help the real one, to hilarious effect.

What does a TV reference have to do with biking? Well, the Grinder grinds on. As A Dude keeps doing on his bike — but without grinding the gears too much. But on hills I have to. I enjoy the challenge, but downhill is always more fun. Spe

Saurabh at Juan Pelota Cafe.jpg
Saurabh at Lance’s bike shop

aking of hills, something fun and dangerous happened Saturday: I reached a downhill speed of 39.5 miles per hour. One wrong move and I’m on the pavement and then in the hospital. But then I did hit a road bump too hard and blew an inner tube and kept control of body and machine. With all the right gear (tube, pump, tire rod-thingy’s, muscle) and a supportive teammate (pictured at the right and here on Strava) I was up running again in about 10 minutes. I hope to get that time down to under 5 minutes, but hopefully won’t have to practice too much. Punctures happen.

East Austin Pride
E. 12th mural

Commuting can be a bit repetitive because it means generally going the same route twice a day. But I vary it a little, and find new things to see most days. I’ve included photos of art in East Austin, which has a lot of cool stuff to see but is also being destroyed by gentrification (that’s a another story better for a whole other blog). Unfortunately, going from a 5-minute to a 30-minute commute led me to give up my year of daily meditation practice. I try to get into a zone and do my sits while spinning. The state of absorption is similar. Ever been on auto-pilot, arriving at your destination without realizing how you got there?  It’s like that. Interesting.

Buddha and yard art
Buddha and yard full of art
Street sunflowers.jpg
Steet sunflowers

 

So while I have nothing very earth-shattering to report after two weeks of the daily grind, the fact is that I’m doing it. The bike-based lifestyle is not glamorous; there’s basically just a lot of hard work. After the five weeks is up, we’ll see how far my commute is. The upide is I’m guaranteed 50+ miles a week for a bit.  Miles are good.

The Liberator: ‘Tain’t Your Average Bike Saddle

Liberator bike saddle.jpg
The Liberator bike seat

This is as good a time as any to mention my new seat, which I got for 5 bucks at Yellow Bike Project. Named “The Liberator,” it has a cut-out to take pressure off the perineum. It’s very comfortable for those long rides. This reminded me of another product with the same name. A photo of that is provided.

Liberator wedge
The Liberator pillow

Use your imagination or look it up to learn what that’s for, but you should be over 18. See, A Dude Abikes is educational as well as entertaining! You’re welcome.

 

Hill Country Ride for AIDS 2016

HCRA sign and me.jpg
A Dude Abikes rides the HCRA again – a good sign!

I should really announce this with more of a splash with its own blog post, and there’s more to come. For now I’ll just saying I’ve registered and am in training for this annual charity ride on April 30, 2016. Last year A Dude biked 50 miles and raised over $1,000 to help people living with HIV/AIDS get the services they need. That was pretty awesome, my longest ride to that point and is for a great cause. You may learn more at www.hillcountryride.org.

HCRA trunk mimosas after Joy Ride #2.jpg
Trunk mimosas after HCRA Joy Ride #2 with Ride director Prentiss, members of the She-Wolf Attack Team (SWAT), Saurabh and A Dude – looks fun, right?!

If you’d like to support my 2016 effort, please leave a Comment or see the About page for how to contact me to donate $$$ to help folks with HIV/AIDS.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Keep on readin’, and I’ll keep on ridin’. And grindin’. Hard. For you.  Remember to Like, Comment, Follow and Share. Oh, and Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Love,

A Dude Abikes

Make art and love not war
Yeah, what this artist said

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