Ten days off the bike is the longest break I’ve had since I can remember. It’s possibly the longest stretch sans bici since I began doing long distances back in January of 2015, pre-Strava. It has been hard, sad, relaxing, and other things — just a weird time. And I’m not out of the woods in terms of the medical situation that put me there. Of course, I’m not the only person who’s had to stop activity for a health challenge, of course, and it could be far worse. Some people have crashes (Tour de France, on parle de toi!), surgery, or life-altering issues. I hope I’m not one of them. Physically, there are changes, and there are also psychological ones. That’s what this post is about, so click on through and check it out, already! Continue reading
When Pam LeBlanc interviewed me for a profile in the Austin American-Statesman that was published on January 15, 2018, it set into motion a series of most fortunate events that are still bearing fruit. When I first suggested the idea to her by email in late 2016, it fell flat. I guess the 5,306 miles I bicycled in 2016 was not that impressive. But I kept riding, and I kept writing this blog, albeit irregularly. And I managed 4,714 miles in 2017. So riding 10,000 miles in two years did catch her attention.
Then Pam, who is a total badass herself I hope to interview one day, expressed interest in putting me in her Fit City blog. After that, her editor wanted to run the piece in the print edition of the newspaper with photos, I was happily surprised. My persistence of pedaling and pontificating had paid off. But the main thing I learned was that if my bicycling story was interesting to the mainstream newspaper of the 11th largest city in the United States (or at least the lifestyles editor), then other peoples’ stories would also have value.
It’s been eight days since I’ve ridden a bicycle. Why? Heat. Illness. Lastimas. Life. (Lastimas is wounds or injuries in Spanish. So that spells H.I.L.L, doesn’t it? I meant to.) When thought of in this way, it’s another set of obstacles, another rise in the road to climb, something that tests you but also makes you stronger. Part of me is relieved, and lucky to have use of a car. Another part of me is pissed off that I’m losing whatever fitness and form I had. Another is panicking that I may not get it back, or get back to it, or even be able bike at all without more injury or at least pain. Breathing in deeply, I notice I am not riding my bicycle. Breathing out, I notice that I am writing a blog post about not riding my bicycle. Continue reading
A Dude Abikes is off his bike for almost a week now, due to an ailment, malady, infirmity, affliction, disorder, sickness, condition or attack. It doesn’t seem to be life-threatening, but it can be a real pain in the tuchis. (That’s Yiddish for backside, butt, nalgas, derrier, etc.) It’s getting treated, but taking alot longer to heal than expected. So I ain’t gettin’ on that bike, as much as I want to, because that would make it worse. Then there’s another matter also more troublesome, and I’m looking into that as well. Let’s hope I’ll be able to remount the trusty old steed soon. Meanwhile, I’m walking a dog for a friend of a friend. Since I’ve adopted a new habit of walking daily, and missed walking Buddy Willis twice daily back in the winter out in the holler, it’s fun to have a new buddy. Her name is…
I was going to write about how I’m unable to bike for a while, or the heat wave (109 F forecast for Monday!), or possibly put up pictures of my collection of bike t-shirts. Then I saw this sad news that made me do a double-take because it’s just crazy. There’s not much to know at this point until they catch the guy who did it. And what’s making this more news than it might be otherwise is that the victim was Dr. Mark Hausknecht, a cardiologist to former US President George H.W. Bush. Houston, we have a problem. It’s you. Quelle bizarre!
Meanwhile, in the crazy-good Houston bike news department, Lawson Craddock, whom I wrote about recently (Texan Lawson Craddock Breaks Scapula on Day 1 of Tour de France, Just Keeps Riding. Quelle Courage!), is still riding in the Tour de France and donating $100 for every stae. His GoFundMe page, which you should definitely contribute to, has now brought in over $114,000 for the Alkek Velodrome damaged in Hurricane Harvey. Since it’s used to train the next generation of cyclists, it’s a good cause. Read more about both these crazy stories below!
One of the themes of this blog is that bicycling is both a solo sport and then again, it’s not. You pedal your own bike, unless you’re chilling out on the back of a tandem. But from the people that made your bike, all the gear and accessories, the roads, the food, the beer… it’s all connected into part of what we tend to call “the bike community.” And by “we” I mean people, usually white ones, with the privilege to go to happy hours. (You could say opposing racism and xenophobia are also one of my sub-themes.)
But hey, don’t even white people who happen to bike deserve to live in a bikeable, walkable city that works well, and not get killed in the process? Yes! So when I heard that the advocacy and membership group A Dude is part of, Bike Austin, partnered with the Congress for the New Urbanism Central Texas Chapter (CNU-CTX) for their monthly gathering, I got myself down there to check it out. What follows is my short report, with plenty of pictures. Continue reading
Tonight I jetted over to a nice but sorta weird place for a bike meeting — a neighborhood emergency center — to learn how to lead group and bike shop rides. It was organized by the active transportation (bike and walking) advocacy and membership non-profit organization for which I occasionally pitch in to volunteer, Bike Austin, led by new director Katie. The training was given by Bicycle Sport Shop Road Captains Daniel, Laura Jane (LJ), and Stephanie and with some of the dozen of attendees contributing some amusing stories of what people do on their bikes. So listen up kids, class is in session! Professor A Dude Abikes is on the mic, talkin’ trikes, and safety things he likes… Continue reading
Since I’ve been feeling a good deal of discomfort and sometimes pain in a certain area on and off, and I am sick of the heat and thus waiting til evenings to ride (not to mention still watching tons of World Cup football matches on delay as well as the Tour de France), I’ve been biking about 12 miles every night this week.
For last night’s ride, I had it in mind to ride downtown to Town Lake and maybe join up with yjr Thursday Night Social Ride (TNSR),the weekly main event of Social Cycling Austin (SCA). It’s a combination of anarchy / organized chaos, like a Critical Mass ride, and also in some ways it’s pretty relaxed if you just go with the flow. I got a late start so figured I’d miss it. I’m generally always happy to do my own ride, but wouldn’t you know it? I crossed paths with the 300-strong group, so naturally I decided to join in the scary fun.
Writing a blog three times a week may not seem like much work, but sometimes it is. Today is one of those days where I’m tempted to skip it, except so far this year I haven’t done that. I either write this blog or in my book for 30 minutes or 500 words, and it’s usually for an hour and over 1,000 words. Or more time and words, depending how much looking up stuff, dealing with photos, and going down rabbit holes. I just keep on doing my best to #Don’tBreakTheChain. After six months and 11 days, I ain’t about to quit. Or better put in tee shirt format:
The first Texan to ride in the Tour de France since 2005, Gregory “Lawson” Craddock (Twitter, Strava) who is from Houston but lives here in Austin, Texas first appeared in the TDF in 2016. Returning after a not great 2017, on Saturday during on Stage 1, he crashed due to a water bottle in the road. Diagnosed with a fractured scapula and gashes on his forehead and elbow, he received treatment en route and finished the ride. After recovering some on Saturday and a tearful interview declaring he had come too far to give up so easily, he rode again Sunday and again today. He’s using his misfortune to inspire others and for charity, too. A Dude Abikes salutes his grit and gumption, so I had to give him a shout out from my little speck of the internet. Go Lawson!