The other day I checked my Strava stats and found that I had biked 10,100.7 miles on my Fuji Silhouette since Janurary 1, 2016. I knew that I was honing in on this milestone but was surprised that it snuck up on me. It’s a pretty awesome achievement — another notch in the belt of my amateur bicycling story. Not too shabby! In fact, that’s awesome! So in this blog I’ll cover some of the thoughts I’ve had after reaching this pretty incredible achievement.
Around the World in 13 Years – Really!
My total mileage, with other bikes especially the Fairdale Weekender Archer, which is about 2,000), I’m well north of 12,000 miles since 1/1/16. It’s over 15,000 since 1/1/2015 (those 3,000 miles were approximate but using training rides and Google Maps is pretty accurate). I’m guestimating that I rode 1,000 miles per year since my car wreck in January of 2005 through 2014 (see 13 Years (Not) a Slave to Cars). So that means that I’ve ridden one bike or another 24,901 miles (40,075 kilometers) in 13 years. THat’s one entire spin around ol’ Mother Earth I’ve done on a friggin’ bicycle, ya’ll! We’ll call it 25,000. Applause and respect are welcome. A little bit louder now. Thank you.
That’s one entire spin around ol’ Mother Earth I’ve done on a friggin’ bicycle, ya’ll!
The cool thing about this all is (besides that those numbers are really very good for someone my age, weight and shape) is that the bike — and I — were never supposed to have gone this far. At least according to my mechanic, my friends, fellow riders, and well, everyone. Being an older fathlete with medical challenges just doesn’t lend one to looking at me and going, “Yeah, that dude sure can shred the slopes in West Austin and the Hill Country and books 100 miles per week.” And that right there is maybe why this little blog is valuable to those who get it. I’m just some dude. Middle-aged, overweight, with other challenges. (Not THE Dude, whose movie was playing the 20th anniversary this week.) But I’m a dude who rides his bike. ALOT! Taking a page from the image on the bike of Jens Vogt, and a nod to Flight of the Conchords):
I’m the mother flippin’ A Dude Abikes.
Fuji-san: Takes a Lickin’ and Keeps on Tickin’
Mike in the bike shop presenting A Dude with the freshly fixed-up Fuji Silhouette, July 2015.
Back to the bike: When we first met, the Fuji Silhouette was resting comfortably but in a state of neglect and disrepair in a friend’s storage unit — literally a cage in the parking garage. I had been riding a 32-pound steel GT hybrid, also gifted by a friend. So when this bike came along, and a guy from Sun & Ski Sports offered 35% off to repair it since I was training for the Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer, I took the opportunity.
And boy am I glad I did. Mike in the bike shop at Sun & Ski overhauled her but good, and over time has kept her running. Sometimes I have too by going to the Austin Yellow Bike Project community shop. And yes, it has involved putting some money into parts and labor. We’ve gone through chains, seats, cassettes, chain rings, shifter cables, brake pads, pedals, tires, tubes and lube. Blood, sweat and tears. Tears for fears. Shifting gears.
We’ve had some incredbly good adventures, Fuji-san and I. The biggest trip we took was Houston to Austin for the MS 150, which I made into a double century: 202 Miles in Two Days. Loads of training miles for other charity rides, too. Commuting and errands in Austin. She’s been with me for many hours. Cold, wet, hot, dry, hills, flats, cars, countryside. Solo, group, fun, fast, slow, transporting groceries and other things, and risking my life in traffic. Sunday nights trying to make my mileage goals. A coupla falls. No car crashes though. Too much to put into a 1,000-word blog.
Thank You Everyone, Because Bicycling Is a Team Sport
So to my friend Thad the donor; Mike, Matias, Brandon, Tiffany, Jimmy and everyone at Sun & Ski Sports; Ethan, Billy, Finley and AJ at The Peddler; Owen and the guys at Bike Farm; Pete, both Molly’s, and everyone at Yellow Bike Project; Katie, Mercy, Julia, Miller, Carson, Shavone and Michelle and other volunteers and board members of Bike Austin like Hill, Chris, Stephanie, and Mike; Hill (again), Katie, Tim, Justin, Garrett and the gang at Bicycle Sport Shop; Taj and folks at Fairdale Bikes.
Also: Marion and previous staff and volunteers at Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer; Preston and volunteers at Hill Country Ride for AIDS; Nancy and volunteers at BP MS 150; everyone who donated to my charity rides; friends, family, fellow riders; readers of this blog; and everyone else on my bicycling journey (you know who you are, although most of you probably aren’t reading this blog, so shame on you!). But still, Fuji-san and I say a big and hearty THANK YOU!
And to Fuji-san I say, I’m grateful to you for carrying me on this wonderful, difficult, painful, joyful journey we’ve been on. Someday soon you may get to go back into retirement, if the internet decides to crowd-fund your replacement like a GoFundMe campaign or something. But there’s no replacing you. You’ll always have a place in my heart. And in my current state of low to no income, for now we’re going to let it ride. Though it’s time for Sofie the sea foam Fairdale to make a reappearance. Don’t be jealous. There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
Bike goes on (unless or until it doesn’t). Here’s to the next 10,000 miles.
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