Casting about for story ideas, I found myself at Michael Bluejay’s long-time and dense website, www.bicyclingaustin.info. Thanks to him and a poster there, Owlman, and also KXAN TV for posting the story which you can read at this link. I didn’t know Tommy Ketterhagen, but when I heard the news a young bicyclist had been killed, I swallowed my heart hard. Continue reading
It Will All Become Clear as Mud
Today’s blog is coming from my tired brain, but the title will make sense by the end. It’s been a week or more since I began feeling bad due to cedar fever, or so I thought. Austin definitely had a few days of very high pollen counts. But when I continued to feeling bad after that went down, I wondered. Still I’m having a dry, mostly unproductive cough. This is the US, so unproductive is bad. Because the US is all about capitalism, and if you’re not producing anything, you’re worthless, right? Referencing the Dire Straits song from a few days ago, maybe I have “Industrial Disease”? Let’s hope not and I’m back on the bicycle soon. Continue reading
Roads: They’re Not Just for Cars Anymore.
Who knew that the Texas Department of Transportation, the highway and toll road people sponsored classes for bicyclists? They’re also for car drivers to learn how to respect the rules of the road and vulnerable road users, i.e., dudes and dudettes on bikes. So on Saturday I saddled up and sauntered slowly downtown despite my ongoing allergies or whatever they are to get a little knowledge dropped into my mountain cedar-induced feverish brain. And I may have learned a thing or two. It turns out that you can teach an old dude new tricks. Not like, magic, or BMX, but you know, tricks. Continue reading
Bikes Came Before Cars & Will Be Here After Them, Too
Today’s post is about a meeting I attended put on by the City of Austin Active Transportation Department. They were reporting back on improvements to two streets in East Austin. The headline for me was that adding bike lanes and reducing car lanes from four to three did not increase travel time. In fact, travel time was decreased, because traffic signals were synchronized and optimized. This was measured with Bluetooth technology so it is not subjective.
Still, naysayers and disbelievers will convince themselves or anything to reinforce their narrow paradigm that only cars deserve to be on the roads. To me that’s just illegal, wrong and backwards. Such is politics. It didn’t matter to me when I just tooled around for short periods. Now that I’ve been out there biking over 13,000 in three years, saving my life and the lives of other people on bikes is more important. Continue reading
Walking a Mile in A Dude Abikes’ Shoes
“Walking is a man’s best medicine.”
“Also, a woman’s.”
— A Dude Abikes
When this month and year began, I somehow tricked myself into committing to walk for 30 minutes every day. No big deal, lots of people do that and much more. Many people run for way more miles and hours. Millions, nay billions of people, may not even have access to bikes. Others are wheelchair-bound or have just one or even no or prosthetic legs. My bicycling 10,000 miles in two years may seem impossible to some, but it’s a piece of cake for others. So hard or challenging varies based on many factors.
But for me, who used to enjoy running before weight gain, age, foot and joint pain set in, it is a big deal. So far, through three days of juice fasting and a week of vegan food that resulted in anemia, sub-freezing temperatures, flare-ups of plantar fasciitis (which is not related to having a proto-fascist in the US White House), and now being wiped out from cedar fever, I have somehow managed to keep at it. Has it helped? Let me walk you through it. A Dude has puns, ya’ll. Continue reading
Sick As a Dog, Happy As a Clam to Be Car-Free
Today was to have been one of celebration. It’s been a baker’s dozen years since my 1991 Little Red Civic got smashed on Bee Caves Road by a guy in a truck. We “t-boned” because he pulled in front of me; his fault. I survived mostly ok, but the car didn’t. The rest is as they say, history. The first decade of my biking lifestyle was not recorded. I biked for utility and in the process got some exercise, but never very much. Continue reading
Cycling Is Great for Your Health but Hazardous to Bikes
The sun is shining, there’s little wind on a crisp but warming winter’s day. I mount up my bike and my feet start pushing the pedals like a thousand times before. The legs are pumping as if through jello. My lungs are lit on fire; every breath burns. I’m going as fast as I can, but it feels like I’m barely moving. Looking around, none of my fellow riders are with me. But this time is different. I’m not in a race, leading or last place. I just have cedar fever. And I’m only on my way to a community clinic to sign up for health care, since Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health insurance is prohibitively costly. And as if today’s natural air pollution wasn’t hard enough, I encountered another of bicyclists’ worst enemies: people who throw their glass bottles on the ground. A Dude Abikes calls them “glassholes.” Continue reading
People on Bikes and Lanes for Them Are Here to Stay
Today I was going to post about a Safe City Cycling Class, but due to cedar fever, my body was devoid of most energy. So I posted up in my bed to take an extended siesta. I’m still feeling as if I were run over by a truck, so bear with me. I hope to attend the next class on Saturday and report on that then. Looking around for a topic, I realized the Next Door War on Cyclists going on today would be a “fun” one. Not being sure about permissions and copyrights, I will just quote from there instead of put whole posts. When someone brings out the word “douche” and they’re not French or talking about a shower or feminine hygiene, let’s just say it gets pretty heated.Continue reading
Perfect Is the Enemy of Good
I don’t know who said that, but my dear brother has repeated it more than once. I was reminded of the phrase when I realized I was not going to be able to ride my bike today. Despite a high temperature of 64 F, it was windy and cedar pollen count was in the high category. This happens every winter in Central Texas as the juniper berries release a viscous, visible and very nasty allergenic yellow plume that coats everything and sends some of us into fits of paroxysm. Another reason to not move to Austin! Combined with other ailments, it is a “double plus ungood situation.” British author George Orwell wrote that in his disturbingly prescient book 1984. About 2018 government shutdowns, bi-partisan extension of US government spying on its own citizens, El Grande Pared de Mexico (great wall of Mexico), he would be saying “I told you so.”
South by Southwest, Sign Me Up!
Today I cycled on down to the Austin Convention Center to sign up for the first time as a South by Southwest (SXSW) volunteer. It was a pretty diverse and interesting group of folks, with lots of crews vying for our attention. I settled on a crew that would allow me to work just during the education portion so I could enjoy the whole rest of the conference. My perk for those 52 hours will allow me to get into the music festival for free (it’s $1,200 to register) and some venues like film, comedy and so on.