The eleventh month of 2018 is in the bag, and I thought I’d do a little recap for loyal readers and newcomers alike. It wasn’t the best or worst month ever. It’s a bit better when compared to last November, the first month after I was laid off my job (that ironically I had for 11 years). There have been four elements challenging my progress: 1) the loss of Sookie the Fuji; 2) what feels like less sleep and more fatigue than usual; 3) cooler temperatures coupled with sometimes intense cold intolerance for some reason; and 4) going back to work part-time has shrunk the available hours to be out there doing activities. Even with these things slowing me down, I still put in a pretty respectable month on bike and foot. For the number nerds, the data dweebs, git ‘er done geeks and so on, click on through to learn more of what A Dude Abikes has been up to.
I found a picture of both Sookie and Sophie, my two bikes. (A third bike is elsewhere; that one was ridden pre-blog/Strava.) The photograph was taken at a community event sponsored by Bike Austin that I helped with. It was attended by several dozen people concerned about bike lanes and sidewalks on two busy and dangerous roads and Austin City Councilmember Greg Casar in April of 2017. Why on earth did I have two bikes at the same event? Well, former BA Campaigns Manager Miller Nuttle forgot his bike, so needed to borrow mine. Something inspired me to snap this shot, and I really like it alot. With the recent news about Sookie, the Fuji Silhouette (left) having a fatal crack in her frame, causing me to have to ride Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer all the time, it got me thinking more about my journey. Keep reading to hear more about this passing of the torch.
Hi Sookie, are you there?
Yes, Dude, I am.
Good! Well, Sookie, we need to talk.
Oh, that doesn’t sound good.
I’m afraid I have some news that you probably aren’t going to like.
I’m a big girl, lay it on me.
Do you remember when we were at the Sun & Ski Sports bike shop the other day?
Yes, I remember! I always enjoy seeing Mike in the bike shop and the other guys. And all those cool new bikes, including some of my decendants.
On a Friday evening in November, just after dark, a young Asian teenager was riding his bike in North Austin. The road dead-ended into a very fast, four-lane road with a median. He made it half-way across, and then for some reason, didn’t stop to yield to traffic that had a speed limit of 60 miles per hour. A blue Toyota hit him, and the driver stayed at the scene. The victim, whose name was Minh-Tan Pham, died later in the hospital. Another young life was extinguished in mere moments due to more traffic violence. He was the 67th traffic fatality on Austin roads in 2018… so far.
This gathering happened Sunday to commemorate an international day organized by the United Nations. It was a somber reminder that cars can and do kill. Not just people in other cars, but also people using bicycles and who are walking. Sponsored by Vision Zero Texas and a number of local organizations promoting traffic safety, the goal is to eliminate deaths from traffic. How to do that is the million dollar question. But the gathering gave a forum and a face to supporters of safer roads, and recieved some media attention as well. As a cyclist whose life is at risk on a daily basis, I have an enlightened self-interest in seeing this law pass. Here’s a short review of the second half of the event I attended at the Texas State Capitol.
The League of American Bicyclists class is over, but the learning continues and the process of me becoming a teacher of bike riders is just beginning. I wrote about the first evening of the class previously here in Part 1, Today I write about all day Saturday and a chunk of Sunday. A combination of theory in the classroom and practice on the bike, it was challenging. There is a lot of information to cover and not alot of time to do it. So alot was crammed into the heads of we the students that may take some time to process. But the upshot is that after completing a few more steps, I’ll be able to pass on my knowledge to kids and adults alike. The goal? To get more bikes on butts — safely. It’s a pretty cool and beautiful idea. Read on to hear the details.
This post is not about San Diego, but it is about a class. Tonight was the first of three sessions of the League of American Bicyclists class. That’s right! A Dude is attempting to become a League Cycling Instructor (LCI). This is a follow-up to the Smart Cycling class, which I wrote about last month. I also blogged about the League in this post. Taken together, you can learn a few things about bicycling safety and education. I won’t repeat much of the content, though. For that you can and should sign up for a Smart Cycling or LCI class yourself! Because it’s an intensive weekend, this will be a more brief post than usual (that’s a good thing). I’ll post a follow-up on my usual next day, which is Monday. OK, time to open your notebooks! Ready, begin.
After meeting Jim Sayer of Adventure Cycling Association on Monday (see my conversation with him), I cycled in the cold to attend his talk on Tuesday. So it was still a conversation, but with about 75 people, not just me. The evening was hosted at the in a big room at the offices of Bike Texas. As you might deduce from the name, it’s a group that works to make cycling safe and appealing in a variety of ways, from lobbying, pressing for infrastructure improvements, and education like Safe Routes to Schools. The evening began with schmoozing, beverages and snacks. I enjoyed the hot apple cider after my chilly ride. Some familiar faces were visible, including one rider I invited. Many were not, but were long-time supporters of the group. For Austin it’s colder than usual for this time of year, so before I continue I’m going to heat up some of that extra cider I brought home in my water bottle. Yum! Continue reading
When I got wind Jim Sayer was in town, I jumped onto my computer machine and using electronic correspondence, I requested a meeting. Since I missed him on my trip to Missoula, Montana where ACA is headquartered on my epic trip there in 2016, and have been curious about bikepacking/touring ever since, I was keen to learn more about ACA. He was kind enough to meet me at a coffee shop and chat. He’ll be doing a talk Tuesday, November 13 at 6-8 pm at Bike Texas, so if you’re in Austin, come on down! I’ll post a follow-up after that event to share more. But let’s dive into what the ACA is about! Continue reading