Sometimes (like now) when I find myself lacking a topic, I’ll peruse other blogs on WordPress for ideas. There’s Biking in LA who does a very regular coverage of all things bike (including way too many accidents) in, you guessed it! — Los Angeles. Jack Akehurst, Life Behind Bars (as in handlebars – clever!) just wrote about his riding and use of Strava over in Nottingham, England. Half-fast Cycling Club from Washington State I think is almost done with a very impressive cross-country cycling tour. Pam LeBlanc, Fit City is here in Austin, Texas (ATX); she just covered the arrival of the Texas 4000, a ride to Alaska for cancer awareness and fundraising. Sheree, View from the Back over in France wrote about her trip to watch a bike race in the Basque Country. I’m sure I’ve left a few out (let me know!), but they’re all interesting when I get time to look. You’re encouraged to go check them out!
Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve landed on to blog about…
Writing about Riding
After making a New Year’s resolution to finally start a daily writing practice, reaching 100 blog posts back in March, meeting the very popular and prolific author Walter Mosley (Wow! I Met Author Walter Mosley…), and it just being about damn time to git ‘er started, I started writing a book about the two years of my “epic velocimania”. (Thanks again, Sam, for that great kudo and description.) I haven’t said much about the book, because it’s like a little baby I’m growing in a science experiment in the lab of my mind. (OK, that sounded a little too weird sciencey even for Keep It Weird Austin.) However, in the back of my mind was a comment from Sorryless who said that’s something he enjoyed reading about in this blog, so thanks to him for that, and here is an update.
The truth is that every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for about five months I have written a minimum of 500 words or 30 minutes in A Dude Abikes – The Book. Usually alot more. Each month is a chapter, and I’m about to finish December of 2016, which means I’m basically half-way through the first draft. This is pretty exciting for me, a first-time author. I have a role model in my brother, who recently published a book of his own for his business. Another is by a fellow rider I met once and ran into again recently; he wrote an e-book about training for the Leadville 100. And there are plenty more examples.
So far I’ve had one “beta reader” who liked it but basically said I should make it more personal about stuff off the bike. I have been doing that after getting that very advice from Seth Meeks, a screenwriter I met at and who sometimes guest co-hosts One Page Salon. So I may have to go back over for the first few months of the year. I just asked a librarian I kniw if they would read it, so we’ll see. And I’m starting to think more about the next steps, like joining a writing group, finding a mentor, taking a writing class, etc. However, those are all back seat items to generating income to keep the air conditioning on and pantry stocked, and of course, doing the actual writing.
Writing a Book is Not Like Riding a Bike
TThat’s because IveI rideen my bike plenty but never written a book. Some days the words flow more easily, as they do when I recount a big ride. Others require some research into what was going on with ol’ A Dude. I don’t consider it cheating to refer to rides on Strava, email, blog posts, or Google Photos, to refresh my memories of where I was, what I was doing and thinking. Sometimes, not much really was happening on the bike, but that usually meant something was going on off of it. I think I’ve struck a good balance between the two.
Should I be so lucky to get it self-published and into the hands of people like you someday, I think it will be a good read. It is a combination of an interesting narrative about my progression as a cyclist, so something that might inspire folks who aren’t cyclists to consider putting their butt on a bike. But it’s also memoir, so shows the physical and spiritual journey, the ups and downs, the hills and dales, the life of a cyclist hell bent on making what for me was at the time, I thought, an unattainable and insane mileage goal.
But like (heh heh heh, I said butt like!) any long journey, getting there is half the fun — and also the challenge. So I’m enjoying the ride but just like my biking, it is also a lot of work. Work is fine, but I’m trying hard to not let searching for income and then generating it get in the way. Hopefully that means not just a regular time-wasting, low-paying and soul-sucking J-O-B. I’d love to do something more flexible and lucrative so I can continue my life as a secret agent — I mean unknown bike blogger, slow but I get there bike rider, commuter and daily yogi and walker.
Maybe I will have to reduce my writing, but ideally I would have supporters who believe in what I’m doing and fund me to do it. So far I have followed the idea of #DontBreakTheChain, and that’s a huge victory in and of itself. I’m not published yet, which according to Sale There I can do with short stories, but I’m on the way. Eventually with enough pedal strokes, one will make it to the summit. Maybe you have to get off and walk or rest sometimes. Thanks for coming along for the ride, ya’ll. Come back on Friday! I’ll be here with more blogging goodness. Bring a friend or two… or 20!
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